WASHINGTON - Gallaudet University caught a major break Saturday against Wells College, in a cross-division North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) showdown, but the Bison didn't capitalize on the opportunity in an 85-75 loss in the Field House on Padden Court.
Wells' Rich Ross, the reigning NEAC Player of the Year, picked up two quick fouls in less than five minutes to begin the game as GU led 8-5. Ross was sent to the bench but returned three minutes later to make a three-pointer and give the Express their second lead, 14-11. He then picked up a third foul at the 10:51 mark and sat for the remainder of the first half.
Gallaudet (2-11, 2-4 NEAC) had the chance to take over the game without Ross in the way but didn't have an answer for the hot-shooting Express (4-10, 2-3 NEAC).
Wells built a 10-point lead, 22-12, before Gallaudet began to chip away at the margin. Freshman Shawn Daniels (Lakeland, Fla.) came off the bench and made his first collegiate three-pointer which was quickly followed by a three by sophomore guard Noah Valencia (Riverside, Calif.), who finished with a career-high 32 points. Valencia made six three-pointers and went 10-for-11 from the free throw line.
The two squads continued to trade three-point shots as Valencia and freshman Preston Kelly (Fishers, Ind.) cut the Wells lead down to one. Senior forward Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) made a jumper to give GU a 30-29 lead with 3:51 left before halftime. This was GU's first lead in over eight minutes.
Wells responded with a 10-0 run to close out the half and take a 39-30 lead into the locker rooms. Gallaudet missed its final six shots from the field and missed two free-throw attempts in the final minutes of play.
In the second half, GU went on an 11-2 run to knot the game at 41. This was as close as Gallaudet got to regaining the lead. The Bison kept the game close but the outside shooting by the Express made them hard to defend. Ross picked up his fourth foul at the 12:04 mark and sat for over six minutes before playing the final 5:25 of the game as he finished with 12 points.
Wells made 15 three-pointers and shot 51.9 percent (28-for-54) from the field and 45.5 percent (15-for-33) from three-point range.
Cruz finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. The senior is now within 20 points of 1,000 career points as a Bison. Junior guard Jawaun Jackson (Downey, Calif.) finished with 17 points as he made half of his shots and passed out four assists.
Express guard Macho DeJesus scored 22 points followed by Tyree Fisher's 16 points in the win.
- Kelly finished with six points, seven rebounds and four assists
- Only five Bison registered points in the game
- Valencia's six three-pointers made ties a season-high
- GU outrebounded Wells 38-29
- The Bison scored 30 points in the paint
- Wells' bench scored 17 points
- The game featured five lead changes and four ties
- The Express led for over 31 minutes
GU will aim to snap its six-game losing streak tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 14) when it plays host to Cazenovia College (4-9, 3-2 NEAC) in a conference game at noon.