CEDARVILLE, OH (WFIE) - A series of runs did not outweigh the droughts for the Kentucky Wesleyan College men's basketball team on Saturday. The Panthers rallied in the second half to take a seven point lead, but Cedarville utilized its height advantage to overcome the deficit and pull away with a 76-59 victory.
The Panthers (3-4, 2-1 G-MAC) did not score for nearly six minutes into the contest, but the defense kicked into high gear and limited the damage as Wesleyan only trailed 4-0. Tarik Dixon broke the seal with a three-point bucket as the contest remained within two possessions either way for the duration of the first half.
The Yellow Jackets (5-4, 3-1 G-MAC) led 24-23 after Adam Goetz converted two free-throws with a minute left in the half. However, a late foul by the Panthers allowed CED to converted a pair of free throws before the horn and take a 28-23 lead into locker-room.
Braden Maughmer gave Cedarville an eight point lead (36-28) with a lay-up four minutes into the second half. Wesleyan found their shooting confidence in the next three minutes as the Panthers hit five three-point buckets in that stretch, three by Dixon. The perimeter shooting opened-up the game as Wesleyan polished off a 15-2 run with a Goetz three-point basket.
The Panthers established a 45-38 lead with 13 minute left in the game, but Zavon Godwin left the game with an injury and things began to up open in the post for the Yellow Jackets. Cedarville made a concentrated effort to get the ball inside the paint and stop the Panthers' attempt to sprint to the finish. Wesleyan went scoreless for six and half minutes as the Yellow Jackets embarked on a 12-0 run to take a 50-45 lead with seven minutes left in the game.
The deficit was trimmed to 54-51 after Mohamed Abu Arisha hit from long range, but that would be the closest the Panthers would get over the final five minutes. An 8-0 rally by the Yellow Jackets countered the Abu Arisha three-point basket and established a 11-point lead (62-51).
In total, the Panthers were outscored 40-12 in the paint. Dixon finished with a career-high 18 points while Deng Mayot added 14 points. Abu Arisha also reach double-figures with 11 points. Goetz struggled from the floor, but pulled-in a career high12 rebounds on the afternoon.
The Panthers will return home on Thursday to host Walsh University. Tip-off at the Sportscenter is scheduled for 7:45 PM.