AURORA, N.Y. – The Wells College men's basketball team held a lead near the midpoint of the second half against the No. 14-ranked team in NCAA Division III on Tuesday, but the Express went on to post an 89-67 loss to visiting New York University at the Farenthold Athletic Wing. With the loss, Wells dips to 3-7 on the year while the Violets remain undefeated in nine contests.
Tuesday's game marked the first time Wells has played a nationally-ranked opponent since the 2011-12 season. In addition, the Express played an undefeated opponent for the second-straight game as Swarthmore also improved to 9-0 with its win over Wells on Dec. 20, 2015.
Four Express players reached double-digit point scoring totals with freshman Rich Ross (Bronx, N.Y.) netting 17 points while junior Vaughndell Brantley (Syracuse, N.Y.) picked up 16 points of his own, shooting 6-for-13 from the floor while adding four rebounds. Sophomore MJ Williams (Tampa, Fla.) and junior James Feocco (Auburn, N.Y.) scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, while freshman David Dames (Manhattan, N.Y.) picked up five rebounds and three points in just over 11 minutes of action.
From the free throw line, Wells tied a team record in Tuesday's affair with NYU, converting 15-of-17 shots from the charity stripe to tie a mark previously set against SUNY Cobleskill on Feb. 27, 2009 (15-for-17).
NYU built up a 10-point lead at halftime, using a three-point basket and a jumper by Ross Udine to take a 43-33 advantage into the locker room. Wells quickly tied the game to open the second half, however, going on a 13-to-3 run to knot the score at 46 with 15:17 left in regulation time. Trailing by three with 11:33 left in the stanza, back-to-back Wells layups by Feocco and Williams created a 56-55 lead with 10:36 remaining.
The Violets did not allow Wells to hold the lead for long, using a dominant 10-0 run across the game's next 2:53 to capture a 65-56 lead with 7:26 remaining in the second half. Ultimately, NYU outscored Wells by a decisive 24-to-9 margin down the stretch to create a game-high lead of 22 points as time expired.
Evan Kupferberg led NYU with 24 points and 11 rebounds while Patrick Burns earned his team's second double-double with 18 points and 13 boards. Tony Bai earned 15 points for his team off the bench, converting three-of-seven shots from distance while tallying five rebounds.
Wells welcomes NEAC-rival Cazenovia College to Aurora, N.Y. this Thursday, Jan. 7 for a 1 p.m. contest against the Wildcats.