Upset sends Wilkes into the MAC Freedom Championship

After losing to DeSales twice already this year, the Men’s Basketball team pulled off a huge win against the No. 1 ranked team at an away game with a score of 72-62.

“Everyone is excited about the win against DeSales. We played great down the stretch,” sophomore Zach Brunner said.

Wilkes has competed very well with the ranked DeSales team this season. The first match-up between Wilkes and DeSales ended 72-73, and the second game ended 67-76. DeSales led the Freedom Conference, ranked No. 1, and Wilkes finally defeated despite being ranked No. 4.

The other two teams in the tournament were Misericordia and Delaware Valley. Delaware Valley defeated Misericordia off of a buzzer-beater with a score of 68-67. Wilkes will travel to Delaware Valley to play for the championship. Wilkes has played Delaware Valley twice this season as well, beating them once. Wilkes won the first game, 60-57, and lost the second game, 60-72.

“To have a chance to win the conference is a pretty awesome feeling and the team is excited for the seniors who deserve to be here. The seniors have done so much in the past couple of years. We know going into the game that it’s going to be a tough game. We are going to have to play our game, and in order to have a chance to win, we’re going to have to take care of the ball and play team defense,” said Brunner.

The beginning of the game started very slowly. In the first ten minutes, Wilkes went one for seven shots and DeSales went one for six. The missed shots kept the score low and the tensions high.

Wilkes picked up the pace and went on a 16-point run that took their lead to 28-14. Before the half was over, Connor Evans made two back to back three-pointers. Those three-pointers put Wilkes ahead at halftime, 34-19.

DeSales looked ready to play coming into the second half. DeSales collected some baskets in order to close the lead, but Alec Wizar dropped a three-pointer to push the score to 39-29.

For the rest of the half, Wilkes kept their lead seven points ahead of DeSales until the very end. Wilkes remained in the lead, but DeSales closed the gap to four points towards the end. The end of the game was filled with fouls that stopped the clock. It prolonged the game so DeSales could try and take the lead in the shortest time possible. Wilkes, however, capitalized on their foul shots, collecting six unanswered points to win the game 72-62.

“This is the best feeling I’ve had in awhile! When teams enter the playoffs, it doesn’t matter what your record is or how you got there. It’s about how you perform in the big moment, and we did everything we needed to do to get the job done. We always knew it was possible, all we had to do was believe,” said freshman Marcus Robinson.

Wizar led the team with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists. Marcus Robinson finished with a double-double, which included 14 points and 12 rebounds. Connor Evans finished with 11 points, four assists and six rebounds, with Clay Basalyga netting 12 points.

Devin Dun (#21) and Zachary Brunner (#33) looking for a rebound last week.
Devin Dun (#21) and Zachary Brunner (#33) looking for a rebound last week.