Junior Taylor Johnson scored 22 points and senior Bradley Riester added 21, but poor free throw shooting down the stretch proved costly in a 68-67 loss at #16 Wesley College on Saturday in Dover, Del. for the University of Mary Washington men's basketball team. The Eagles fall to 11-2 overall, and 5-1 in CAC action.
The Eagles jumped ahead early, and led throughout much of the action, as Taylor Johnson and Dajon Daniel hit three pointers to give UMW an early 6-0 lead. The teams traded baskets for much of the rest of the first half, with UMW leading by as many as nine at 35-26 with 2:45 remaining. Wesley cut the deficit to as few as two in the half, and hit a three to answer Riester's in the final minutes to cut the halftime deficit to 35-29.
The Wolverines eradicated the margin immediately to start the second half, scoring the first seven points to take their first lead of the game at 36-35 with 18:44 to play. A Taylor Johnson three returned the lead to the Eagles, and a Riester jumper advanced the lead to four, before a Wesley three pointer cut the score to 40-39 with 17:09 left.
The teams traded four straight three pointers, which gave UMW a 48-45 lead with 14:44 to go. Wesley cut the deficit to one, and then the teams traded four more threes before Wesley hit another to regain the lead at 58-56 with 9:08 remaining.
Johnson made a pair of free throws and a layup to give UMW a 60-58 advantage with 7:55 left, and a Riester free throw three minutes later upped the lead to 61-58. Johnson made a free throw with 4:09 left to up the lead to four at 62-58, but Wesley made a layup and a pair of free throws to tie the score at 62 with 2:32 remaining.
Johnson then hit a three pointer with 2:13 on the clock to give UMW a 65-62 advantage. Wesley answered with a three-point play to tie the score with 1:47 left, and took the lead with another layup with 43 seconds left.
Johnson answered with a layup with 24 seconds left to tie the score, and a bizarre sequence to end the game ensued. After UMW took a pair of timeouts, Wesley then took one, and senior Dom Morra stole the ball to give UMW a chance at the last shot, but Wesley stole it back, and AJ Tilghmann made one free throw with 1.2 seconds left to earn the win.
Both teams shot 41% from the floor, and both made 12 three pointers, but Wesley made four more baskets, and the Eagles shot just 13-24 from the free throw line. Wesley led in rebounds, 39-35, and UMW committed 11 turnovers to 14 for the Wolverines.
Johnson shot 7-12 with four three pointers en route to 22 points, while Riester went 6-9 with five treys on the way to 21. Dajon Daniel scored 17 points as the third Eagle in double figures. Wesley was led by Brandin Youngblood's 15 points.
The Eagles will return to action on Wednesday when they host #14 Christopher Newport University at 8:00 p.m.