Wesleyan grinds out victory at Tiffin

January 7, 2022 | 12:05 am

Updated January 7, 2022 | 2:35 pm

Down by as many as 11 in the first half and seven with just five minutes to play, the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers used exceptional free throw shooting and timely defense to grind out an 81-77 win over a pesky Tiffin team. 

With the win the Panthers move to 9-6 (4-4 G-MAC) while the Dragons fall to 5-7 (1-4 G-MAC). 

KWC started off strong, going up 9-4 on a layup by Antonio Thomas. Following a Dragon timeout, Tiffin went on a quick 11-0 run over the next three minutes to quickly go up 16-9. With 7:30 left in the half JoMel Boyd put in a layup to cut the lead to 23-20. Tiffin controlled the game the rest of the half and Wesleyan went into the locker room down 38-32.

After the teams went back and forth to open the second half, Jordan Roland sliced through the lane to cut the lead to 49-47 with 15 minutes left in the contest. TU kept their foot on the gas and led by as many as seven before five straight points from Thomas and two free throws from Ben Sisson gave Wesleyan a 61-60 lead at the 10:07 mark, the Panther’s first lead since they were up 9-7 five minutes into the game. Tiffin answered and pushed their lead back to seven, but with five minutes left it was all Panthers. Wyatt Battaile hit a three to cut the lead to just two, then Thomas gave the Panthers the 73-72 lead with another solo 5-0 run. Wesleyan hit their free throws down the stretch to take the game by four points. 

Thomas led the Panthers with a career high 20 points, followed by Roland’s  18 and Boyd’s 17. Boyd added 10 rebounds to notch his fourth double-double of the season while Thomas also led the way with three helpers.

The Panthers shot 27-57 (47.4%) from the field and 6-18 (33.3%) from behind the arc. Tiffin 29-62 (46.8%) and 9-28 (32.1%) from three. Free throws were the difference in the game, as Wesleyan shot 21-24 from the charity stripe, compared to 10-14 for the Dragons. 

Kentucky Wesleyan’s next contest will take place on Saturday at Ashland. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.

January 7, 2022 | 12:05 am

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