CAZENOVIA, N.Y. – Junior Vaughndell Brantley (Syracuse, N.Y.) scored a season-high 27 points for the Wells College men's basketball team in its 90-77 victory over Cazenovia College on Sunday. Wells improves to 7-11 overall on the year and to 5-6 within North Eastern Athletic Conference play while Cazenovia (7-10, 5-4 NEAC) snaps a modest five-game winning streak with the result.
Brantley recorded a double-double with 27 points and a team-leading 14 rebounds for the Express. Between his career at Onondaga Community College (NJCAA) and Wells, he boasts 1,055 career points after eclipsing 1,000 for his three-year career earlier this season against Penn St.-Berks. Making four out of his five attempts from beyond the arc, Brantley helped the Express shoot .476 (10-for-21) from three-point range, the seventh-best single game percentage in team history.
Freshman Rich Ross (Bronx, N.Y.) and junior Chris Courtney (Auburn, N.Y.) each tallied 13 points for Wells. Ross, who was 6-for-6 from the free throw line, helped the Express combine for a sparkling .880 free throw percentage, ranking third all-time in single game program history. Senior Jordan Bishop (Arlington, Texas) also had a noteworthy game for Wells, scoring 11 points while equaling his career-high for assists with seven.
Wells scored 90 points for the first time in nearly two seasons with Sunday's result. Additionally, the Express move to 14-2 all-time against Cazenovia, the most victories against any opponent in program history.
With Cazenovia ahead by a 9-8 score with only 4:52 elapsed in the contest, Wells assumed control with three-point baskets from Brantley, Bishop and Courtney in succession to establish a 17-9 lead with 14:18 left to go in the opening stanza. The Wildcats briefly battled back, but a quick 9-0 run by Wells created a double-digit advantage (26-16) down the stretch.
Cazenovia would tie the game at 26 with 6:34 to go in the first half, but Wells kept the hosts at arm's length heading into half time. Back-to-back three-point baskets from freshman Zachary Marsh (Whitney Point, N.Y.) and sophomore MJ Williams (Tampa, Fla.) helped to provide cushion as the Wildcats attempted to claw their way back.
Wells would have two separate 11-point leads to open the second half of play, but Cazenovia cut the Express lead to four points as late as with 9:21 left in regulation time. Ahead by a 66-62 score at that point, Wells scored nine-straight points over the next 1:41 to create a sizeable advantage.
Down the stretch, Cazenovia sent the Express to the line in an attempt to make a comeback, but Wells created a game-high 17-point lead (88-71) after Williams cashed in with two free throw makes with 58 seconds left.
The Wildcats were led by a 20-point effort by Will Thompson. Keith Caiello added 13 points off the bench for Cazenovia while Avery Wilmore rounded out the double-digit point scorers for the home team.
Wells will host two NEAC contests this upcoming weekend, welcoming the Phoenix from Wilson College to campus on Saturday, Feb. 6 before hosting the Bison from Gallaudet University on Sunday, Feb. 7. Both games will tip at 1 p.m. within the Farenthold Athletic Wing.