Men's Basketball Repeats as East Division Champs with Comeback win

Guard Cam Martin, photo courtesy Carl Lewis
Guard Cam Martin, photo courtesy Carl Lewis

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. - The NC Wesleyan College men's basketball rallied back from a second half deficit to defeat conference rival William Peace University 85-81 to not only sweep the season series from the Pacers, but clinch their 2nd straight East Division title.

The Bishops improve to 19-5 overall and 12-4 in the conference with the win as senior forward Robert Wilson led the men with 21 points and 9 rebounds on 7 of 11 shooting on Senior Night.

The 19 wins are the most for the Bishops since the 2015-16 team went 20-7 and also won the conference. This is the Bishops' third Division or Conference regular season title in the past 4 seasons.

Also finishing in double-figure scoring for Wesleyan was junior center A.J. Frye with 19 points and 10 rebounds for his 9th double-double while sophomore guard Josh Covington scored a season-high of 18 points on 8 of 11 shooting.

After a pretty even and competitive first half that saw each team shoot around 45 percent, the rivals went into the half tied at 40 apiece. The second half began with Peace taking the lead and eventually building their advantage to 12 points at 66-54 with 10 minutes to play. The Bishops then went on a huge 31-15 run to eventually take their first lead of the second half at the 2:45 mark when senior guard Chris Braswell drilled a three-pointer that ignited the crowd as the Bishops would not look back and go on for the win. To break the scoring run down even more, Wesleyan saw themselves trailing 75-69 with five minutes to play before ending the game on a 16-6 run for the important division-clinching win.

Braswell also led the team with 5 assists to go along with his 9 points and 5 rebounds while junior guard Cameron Martin tallied an important 7 points and 6 rebounds with 3 assists off the bench. 

Wesleyan shot 51 percent in the second half while holding the Pacers (12-12, 8-8) to under 40 percent from the floor to get the win.

The men are next in action on Saturday when they travel to Fayetteville to battle rival Methodist University (N.C.) (10-6 in USA South) at 2:00 PM to complete the regular season.

However, they will return home on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 PM to host a USA South Tournament Quarterfinal game vs. a team TBA.