AURORA, N.Y. – Four different players reached double-digit point totals as the Wells College men's basketball team posted a 79-77 victory over the Saxons of Alfred University Wednesday evening at the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Athletic Wing. With the victory, the Express improve to 3-2 overall on the year while the Saxons fall to 1-4 across their non-conference calendar.
Dating back to a 71-64 loss to the Saxons on Nov. 15, 2008, the Express have posted four straight victories against Alfred and boast a 4-1 record all-time against the Empire 8 men's basketball program. Tonight's overtime victory was the team's first dating back to Feb. 27, 2011, a 75-72 victory over Penn St.-Harrisburg in the North Eastern Athletic Conference Championship game. In their five year history, the Wells College men's basketball team is now 4-3 in overtime contests.
The Express captured their first lead of the game only 6:27 into the first half as E.J. Taylor (Tampa Bay, Fla.) buried the first of his game's four three point baskets to grant Wells an 11-9 lead. In total, the Express scored 11 straight points to take a 17-9 lead in the early going. Still possessing a 10 point lead with 3:55 remaining in the first half following an additional Taylor three point basket, the Express were able to keep the visiting team at arm's length for the remainder of the half, taking a 34-27 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the first half, the Express saw 10 of their 34 points scored off of turnovers while their bench chipped in 10 points in the stanza. Taylor was 6-for-11 from the floor in the first half, pouring in three field goals and three three point baskets. The Express also saw six first half points from Salvatore Fabozzi (Staten Island, N.Y.), who scored all six points within his nine minutes of first half playing time.
Despite only converting 10-of-26 field goal attempts, the Saxons were able to mount a large rally in the second half. Tim Pacheco buried his first two foul shots of the half and Thomas Tsatsis scored four points in the first four minutes, cutting the Express lead to three with only 16:38 remaining in regulation. A Dalton Walsh three point basket knotted the score at 38 apiece at that time and a Tsatsis layup and two Erich Kaempffe (North Rose, N.Y.) free throws once again knotted the score at 40 apiece.
Tsatsis scored four of his team's next six points, holding the Express off of the scoreboard during that span to capture a six point lead with 14:28 remaining in the first half. Ryan Hood (Massillon, Ohio) countered with a layup at the 13:43 mark, but the Saxons converted all four of their foul shots in the ensuing two minutes of play. Following their 4-for-4 performance at the charity stripe, Pacheco added a jump shot which ultimately preceded a Walsh slam dunk to take a commanding 10 point lead near the midpoint of the second half.
Possessing a nine point lead with 5:59 remaining in the second half, the Saxons allowed the Express to score the game's next six points, capped off with a Jordan Bishop (Arlington, Texas) layup with 4:21 remaining in regulation. Despite a Sean Curran layup following a Taylor turnover, the Express answered with four foul shots across the next series of plays to cut the Saxons lead to one, 64-63, with 1:34 remaining.
Tsatsis added a layup with 1:16 remaining to re-extend the Saxons lead to three, but Taylor dropped a clutch three point basket only eight seconds later off of a Bishop feed, forcing the visiting team to call a time out. Following the full time out, Tsatsis was able to strike for his 16th and 17th points of the half with a layup at the 42 second mark to take a two point lead.
Heading back down the floor were the Express, who utilized a Jonathan Hurtado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) layup to knot the score at 68 aside with only 29 seconds remaining. In total, the Saxons saw 33 points from their bench in the second half as opposed to only six points from the Wells bench.
In the first overtime period of the year for the Express, they did not relinquish their lead once throughout the five minute span. Only 31 seconds into the extra frame, Kaempffe buried a three pointer off of a Bishop assist to take an early three point lead. Only 14 seconds later, Costello answered with a three pointer of his own to tie the score for the fifth time in the game.
The Express countered with the game's next four points, courtesy of layups from Al Paul (Elmont, N.Y.) and Hurtado with time ticking down. With the score locked in at 75-71, two Express fouls in the game's last 1:09 gave the Saxons life. Curran and Jason Ruback each went to the line for two shots and converted all four opportunities, tying the game at 75 with only 36 seconds remaining.
Following a home timeout, the Express were able to capitalize on their final opportunity, as Bishop cut through heavy paint traffic for the layup, giving the Express a 77-75 lead which they would not relinquish despite a Tsatsis layup with one second remaining.
Cumulatively, Taylor led the way with 21 total points and was 7-for-15 in field goals. Also leading the team with four three's was Taylor, who tied his career-high mark set originally on Feb. 18, 2012 against Keuka College. Paul set a career-high with 15 points off of four field goals and a team-best seven free throws. His six boards and three assists also placed him in a three-way tie with Taylor and Hurtado in each category. Defensively, Hood and Taylor each recorded three steals.
Off the bench, Tsatsis led the way with 21 of his team's 77 points via seven field goals and seven free throws. He also scooped up a team-best eight boards. Walsh also had a strong performance on the evening, chipping in six field goals and six boards. Curran tallied four takeaways on the evening alongside eght points.
The Express return to action Friday, Nov. 30 as they travel to face-off against the Bombers of Ithaca College in an 8:00 p.m. contest. Stay up to date with the latest news directly from the Wells College athletic department by "liking" us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/WellsExpress) and subscribing to our Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/WellsExpress).
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