CHESTNUT HILL, MA – The Wheelock College men's basketball team outscored visiting Elms College, 12-1, in overtime to secure a 71-60 victory in a New England Collegiate Conference contest this evening at Brunelli Court on the campus of Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA. The Wildcats win their school-record fifth straight game and have won six of their last seven to improve to 9-8 overall and 7-2 in NECC play, while the Blazers fall to 10-7 and 5-3.
The Wheelock defense held Elms to 0-11 shooting from the field and allowed just a free throw in the extra session.
The second half clock showed just seven tenths of a second left in the game when sophomore guard Kurt Steiner (Rutland, MA) inbounded the ball to junior forward David McDaniel (Plainfield, NJ), who banked home a three-pointer to knot the contest at 59-59 at the buzzer. The trey brought Elms all the way back from a 12-point deficit and sent the contest into overtime.
The Wildcats reeled off the first 12 points of the extra session, including four free throws from sophomore guard Bunky Williams (Miami, FL), to take a commanding 71-59 advantage with 1:03 to play in the game. Freshman forward Kenneth Lockett (Atlanta, GA) ended the scoring drought for the visitors, making the back end of a pair of free throws with 27 seconds left in the contest.
Wheelock owned a 41-39 lead with 10:38 left in the second half, before going on a 14-4 run to take its largest lead of the night at 55-43 with 4:56 to play in regulation. The Blazers weren't ready to go home and showed as much by going on a 13-4 stretch, fueled by seven points from McDaniel and a pair of three-pointers from senior guard Daniel Gonzalez (East Windsor, CT), to pull to within 59-56 with 19 ticks left on the clock to set up McDaniel's game-tying triple.
The first half saw the teams trade the lead 11 times with Elms owning the largest lead of the period at 22-17 with 6:30 remaining in the half. Senior point guard Kyle Pierce (Burlington, MA) hit a jumper for two of his team-high 19 points to give the Wildcats a 27-26 edge with 2:43 showing in the opening half. The Blazers reclaimed the lead on a McDaniel jumper and later took a 30-29 margin into the intermission.
Elms increased its lead to 34-30 with 17:35 to go in the second stanza, but Wheelock responded with an 11-2 burst, paced by six points from Pierce to take a 41-36 cushion with 11:04 left in the second half. A three-point play capped by a Gonzalez free throw pulled the Blazers to within 41-39 on its next possession.
Pierce was 8-13 from the field and added five rebounds, five assists and a steal for the Wildcats, while senior center Eric Rice (Woburn, MA) posted a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds to go with five assists, two steals and a pair of blocked shots. Senior guard Max Kaim (Fort Lauderdale, FL) chipped in with 11 points, three boards, two assists and two steals, while junior Bashir Hudson (Jamaica Plain, MA) contributed with nine points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
McDaniel ended the night with a monster double-double of 22 points on 9-15 from the floor and 16 rebounds in addition to collecting two steals and blocking two shots for Elms. Gonzalez came off the bench to net 16 points, including a trio of three-pointers and added an assist and a steal in 27 minutes of action. Freshman point guard Charles Bason (Riverdale, MD) led all playmakers with six assists, while dropping in two points, pulling down five boards and making a steal.
Wheelock will be in action again on Saturday, January 28 when it travels to New London, CT to take on NECC foe Mitchell College at 12:00 p.m., while the Blazers host Lesley University on the same day at 2:00 p.m.