Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Robinson, Evans Spark Wilkes Men’s Basketball to 72-66 Victory Over DeSales

WILKES-BARRE – Connor Evans and Marcus Robinson combined for 31 points including 21 in the second half to lead Wilkes University to a 72-66 MAC Freedom victory over visiting DeSales University Wednesday night at the Marts Center.

Wilkes improved to 11-5 overall and 4-1 in MAC Freedom play following the win while DeSales dropped to 12-4 overall and 3-2 in league contests after suffering the defeat.

DeSales jumped out to an 11-6 lead in the game’s first seven minutes before three straight driving scores from Evans and a three-point play from Mason Gross tied the contest at 13-13 with 10:42 remaining in the half. The Colonels continued the run when Gross score inside in the paint and Tommy Bowen drilled a three-pointer at the top of the key to give Wilkes its first lead up 18-13 with 8:50 on the first half clock.

The teams traded baskets over the next four minutes of play before a 6-0 DeSales run including a jumper from the foul line as the halftime clock expired gave the Bulldogs a 29-25 advantage at the break.

The Colonel offense finally began to find its rhythm midway through the second half as an inside score from Gross and back-to-back Robinson treys tied the game at 46 with just over ten minutes left in the game. DeSales answered with a bucket inside and a three-pointer to take back the advantage up 51-46 with 9:07 on the clock. Continuing the trend of offensive runs in the second half, Wilkes responded with seven quick points as Jack Bova nailed a corner three and Gross scored in transition off a nice pass from Evans to put the Colonels ahead 53-51 at the 7:42 mark.

Both teams continued to score over the next five minutes before a Robinson corner three-pointer and DeSales subsequent transition layup knotted the game at 63 with 2:10 remaining. After a DeSales timeout, Rob Pecorelli connected on a running jumper and the Colonels defense came up with a big stop as Wilkes led by two with the ball and 1:22 on the clock. On an out-of-bounds play underneath its own hoop, Pecorelli found a slipping Mullins for an easy layup to push the advantage to 67-63. DeSales missed the front end of a one-and-one and Evans was fouled intentionally sinking both free throws to extend the lead to six with :40 remaining.

DeSales converted a three-point play on its next possession to cut the Wilkes lead to three, but Robinson snuck free for an uncontested layup on the ensuing Colonel possession and two of four free throws with under ten seconds sealed the home conference victory.

Evans finished with a team-high 18 points and four rebounds going 5-for-11 from the field. Robinson followed with 13 points including a 3-for-6 performance from behind the arc. Robinson now sits ten points shy of 1,000 for his career. Gross was efficient off the bench for Wilkes chipping in 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting. Zach Brunner rounded out the double figure scorers for the Colonels adding 11 points and six rebounds.

Tracy Simsick led DeSales with a game-high 20 points. Luke Connaghan followed with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Wilkes continues its home stretch on Saturday hosting cross-town rival King’s College at 2:00 p.m. at the Marts Center. Wilkes will honor its 25th class of Hall of Fame inductees at halftime of the contest.

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