SWARTHMORE, Pa. – The Wells College men's basketball team posted a 67-63 non-conference victory over Maine Maritime on Saturday on the campus of Swarthmore College. With the victory in the opening game of the Garnet Holiday Classic, the Express move to 3-5 overall on the year while the Mariners drop to 3-6.
Freshman Rich Ross (Bronx, N.Y.) scored 17 points for Wells, assisting a team-leading six baskets, while chipping in with seven rebounds. Junior Chris Courtney (Auburn, N.Y.) poured home 11 points while senior Jordan Bishop (Arlington, Texas) struck for 10 points. Junior James Feocco (Auburn, N.Y.) posted team-high totals in rebounds (eight) and blocked shots (four).
The Mariners pulled ahead early, scoring the game's first eight points to take an early advantage over the Express. After the early offensive barrage by Maine Maritime, Wells went on a 14-5 run that spanned the game's next 5:09 to take its first lead of the evening, 14-13, after a jumper from Bishop at 10:52.
Junior Darius Smith (Lanham, Md.) dramatically tied the game at 35 with 44 seconds remaining in the opening half, but Brendan Newcomb connected with his fourth three-point basket of the game with only 26 seconds left on the first-half clock to create a 38-35 halftime advantage for the Mariners. Cumulatively, Maine Maritime made all five attempts from beyond the arc to shoot 51.6% in the opening stanza.
Wells came out of halftime strong, immediately establishing a 39-38 lead following back-to-back free throw makes by junior Vaughndell Brantley (Syracuse, N.Y.) and a layup from Courtney. From there, Wells took the lead for good after Ross connected on two three-point baskets that sandwiched a layup from Feocco. Immediately after the Ross trey, Bishop capped off a 12-0 run by forcing a turnover and burying a fastbreak layup to put his team up 53-43 with 13:22 left in regulation time.
The Mariners fought back, shrinking the Wells lead to 61-60 with 1:24 left in the second half, but Wells saw Courtney make all four of his free throws down the stretch to take the 67-63 win.
Maine Maritime had four players reach double-digits in point scoring. Newcomb scored a team-high 17 points for the Mariners while Tyler Gilson posted 14 rebounds alongside 13 points for the double-double.
The Express will take on Swarthmore College in the championship tilt of the Garnet Holiday Classic on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. – the hosts remain undefeated in eight games after taking down Earlham by a 72-62 margin in the earlier contest.