Strong second-half sends Wheaton past Mount Ida, 75-61

Strong second-half sends Wheaton past Mount Ida, 75-61

NORTON, Mass. – Junior Cliften Desravines (Somerville, Mass./Taft School) scored a career-high 17 points and blocked four shots in Wheaton College's 75-61 win over Mount Ida College in non-conference men's basketball action Tuesday night at Emerson Gymnasium.

Desravines also snared a game-high 12 rebounds and made 5-of-6 from the free throw line as the Lyons won their third-straight to improve to 4-1 on the season – their best start since the 2008-09 season.

Senior Brendan Degnan (Narragansett, R.I./Bishop Hendricken) added 16 points, eight rebounds, and three steals while classmate Anthony Weeks (Fitchburg, Mass./Worcester Academy) came off the bench and knocked down three 3-point field goals en route to a season-high 16 points. Sophomore Will Bayliss (Manchester, N.H./Tilton Academy) chipped in with 10 points and a team-high five assists.

Mount Ida jumped out to a 13-7 lead before a 14-0 run by Wheaton gave it a 21-13 lead with 6:30 to go in the first half. Degnan scored eight of the Lyons 14 points during the run while Desravines added four. Mount Ida answered with a 16-8 run to close the first half with the score tied at 29. Mustangs senior Isiah Benjamin (Windsor, Conn./Masters School) led all scorers with 13 points while classmate Travis Hillery (Tyngsboro, Mass./Central Catholic) added 10. Desravines and Degnan each scored nine to pace Wheaton.

After shooting just 27 percent in the first half (9-of-33), the Lyons connected on 62 percent of their second-half attempts – including four of their eight shots from downtown – and outscored the Mustangs (2-1) by 14 over the final 20 minutes of the game. Wheaton scored the first six points of the half – including a pair of layups by Degnan – to take a six-point lead just over two minutes in. Later, back-to-back buckets by Weeks pushed the Lyons lead to 10 (50-40) with 11:39 on the clock, and their lead never dipped below six points the rest of the way. A three-point play by Desravines with 5:59 remaining sparked an 11-2 run that gave Wheaton a 69-53 advantage with 3:38 to go. Weeks scored eight points during the run – highlighted by a pair of triples.

"I brought the guys in at halftime and explained to them that in years past, we'd have been down 10 points had we started off shooting the ball the way we did," said Lyons head coach Brian Walmsley. "This year, our defense has been so consistent. Mount Ida was averaging around 80 points a game, and we held them to 61 points. I thought we did a great job of hanging in until we made a few shots. Our shot selection was better in the second half, and we made our free throws when we got to the line."

The Lyons knocked down 21 of their 26 attempts from the charity stripe (80.8 pct.). Defensively, they held the Mustangs to 37 percent shooting (23-of-63) while forcing 20 turnovers. They also blocked a season-high seven shots, which in turn led to 14 fast-break points.

"I thought Cliff and Shawn (Daily) really protected the rim for us," added Walmsley. "Their guards are so talented shooting the ball, so our guards really had to get up and pressure them. If they took our guards, we then had to take away their path (to the basket). We didn't allow any easy shots around the rim, which is what we wanted to do."

Senior Keith Jones (Boston, Mass./Mass.-Bay CC) finished with a game-high 19 points to lead Mount Ida. Hillery went for 14 points, five rebounds, three steals and a pair of assists while Benjamin recorded 13 points and six helpers.

The Lyons return to action on Thursday when they host Tufts at 7 p.m. Mount Ida hosts Mitchell Thursday at 6 p.m.