Cardinals sink 12 of first 13 shots, build 20-point first-half lead
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Wesleyan University men's basketball team connected on its first eight shots of the game and 12 of its first 13 to race to a 20-point lead on the way to a 74-63 non-conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Wednesday evening at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
At left: Eastern's Chris Robitaille bodies up on Wesleyan's Mike Callaghan in the first half of Wednesday's non-conference loss.(Photo by Krysta Valerio)
Eastern (13-7) commited a season-low five turnovers in the game but could not match Wesleyan (11-10) in the first half. The Cardinals shot 65.4 percent from the floor before the break (8-for-12 from three-point range), opened up a 20-point lead ten minutes into action, and weathered an Eastern threat early in the second half to post their fourth straight victory over the Warriors in this series.
Senior guards Shasha Brown and Derick Beresford combined for 25 points in the first half on 10 for 15 field goal shooting (5-for-8 from long range) for Wesleyan, which connected on ten of 18 three-point field goals in the game despite averaging under six made per contest this season.
Eastern opened the second half strong, scoring the first nine points behind senior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) and junior forward Mike Garrow (Terryville), who contributed four and five points, respectively, as the Warriors needed just 2:19 to cut the deficit to three, 42-39. Soon after, Wesleyan countered with a six-point run of its own when junior forward Glen Thomas put back a teammate's miss, then turned an Eastern turnover into two more points on a driving layup before junior guard Zach Lynch came off the bench to score his only points following an Eastern miss that made it 54-43 with 11 minutes left. The lead dipped into single digits only once thereafter.
Brown and Robitaille shared game-high scoring honors with 19 points each. Beresford followed Brown (six assists) with 18, including his 1,000th career point on a jumper 2:34 into play. Senior forward Mike Callaghan had 11 points and five assists and Thomas ten points on perfect shooting (5-for-5) from the floor.
Robitaille led all players with ten rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. Junior guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) had 16 points for the Warriors, extending his streak to 25 games with at least one three-point field goal.
Eastern senior guard Joe Ives (Avon), who missed Saturday's home loss to Rhode Island College with a shoulder injury, was helped off the floor with 5:23 left after injuring his knee on a collision under the basket.
The Warriors played without starting freshman guard Trachone Preston (Enfield), who missed his first game after straining his calf Saturday against Rhode Island.
Eastern visits Plymouth State University Saturday at 3 p.m. in a Little East Conference game.