The Wayne State men’s basketball team had a successful weekend road trip down to Florida, winning both games in the Eckerd College Thanksgiving Classic Men’s Basketball Tournament in St. Petersburg, Fla.
On Friday, Wayne State sank 13 3-pointers and held off a late Tampa rally to down the Spartans 72-63 Friday evening.
The Wildcats used a 9-0 run moments to take a 17-10 lead early in the first half following back-to-back baskets from Jay Saunders. The Spartans closed to within five a couple of times, but WSC responded and took their first double-digit lead at 32-22 with 3:00 to play in the half on a David Harmon basket and closed the half with a 34-22 lead.
Thanks to consecutive 3-pointers by Nate Mohr and Cody McCullough, WSC took their biggest lead of the game at 42-25 with 15:57 remaining. The Wildcats still led 45-34 with 13:22 to play when Tampa made their first run and closed within six at 47-41 with 11:46 left.
A pair of Jordan Janssen baskets and a Nick Ferrarini trey and pushed the lead back to 13 at 54-41 and Wayne State was up 67-52 with five minutes to go when Tampa rallied one last time, getting as close as five at 68-63 with :35 to play before a Janssen hoop and a pair of Ferranini Free throws closed out the win.
Mohr and Justin Eagins each poured in 17 points for Wayne State. Janssen ended with a double-double on 10 points and 11 rebounds while Saunders also hit double digits with 10. Janssen grabbed 11 caroms and five assists while Mohr was credited with three steals.
Saturday, The Wildcats overcame a 20-point first-half deficit and 58 percent shooting by host Eckerd College as the Wildcats rallied for an 89-87 victory over the Tritons.
Eckerd used a 14-0 run to build a 16-6 lead early in the game and led by as many as 20 at 41-21 before settling on a 48-32 halftime advantage.
The Wildcats came out strong to open the second half and used a 12-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back 3’s from senior guard Nate Mohr, to cut the Tritons lead to five at 51-46 at the 16:51 mark.
Wayne State trailed by eight (54-46), but an 11-2 run gave the Wildcats a 57-56 lead on a Ferrarini basket with 13:06 remaining.
The Tritons responded with one of nine lead changes in the second half and scored eight straight points to regain the lead at 64-57., but Wayne State used a 14-2 run to retake the lead at 71-66 with 7:17 to go. It was a tight game the rest of the way, and baskets from Eagins and Janssen along with two free throws from Eagins put the Wildcats ahead to stay at 88-84 with :17 left.
A three-point play by Eckerd’s Daniel Love cut the lead to one at 88-87 with 12 seconds to play. Mohr was fouled and made one of two free throws with 10 seconds left to give WSC a 89-87 lead. Eckerd’s Kent Garard missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds and Wayne State held on for the victory.
Janssen had a game-high 25 points for the Wildcats, going 9-of-14 from the field and 7-for-8 at the line. Eagins added 18 points, Mohr 17 and sophomore Cody McCullough had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.