Charlotte, NC – Johnson & Wales (7-23) looked to wrap up their 2012-2013 home season on a high note Friday night as they tried to secure the programs first home winning streak. Fellow USCAA foe Mid-Atlantic Christian (11-14) stood in their way, and proved to be quite a challenge. The Wildcats prevailed in the end, coming away with an 82-71 win.
The Wildcats shot well from the field in the first few minutes for the second game in a row. JWU made 3 of their first 4 shots, all from three point land to take a quick 10-4 lead in the first three minutes of the game. The Mustangs hung in with the taller Wildcats thanks to their work on the boards, taking a 15-14 lead on a Landon Efird jumper with 9:12 left. The game remained tight for the next four minutes until JWU was able to ahead by five at the 5:42 mark when Joshua Cohen's bucket put the Wildcats up 23-18. JWU would finish the half on a 20-8 run to take a 43-26 halftime lead. The 17 point margin set a school record for largest halftime lead.
Mario Irby's dunk just over a minute into the second half gave JWU their largest lead of the game at 47-26. MACU cut the lead to 12 on a 9-0 run of their own, keyed by a Questen Ragin three pointer. The Wildcats would briefly extend the lead back to 19 on a Nigel Massey free throw at the 13:49 mark. The Mustangs would slowly inch their way back into the game over the next four minutes as they trimmed the JWU lead to 7 at 64-57. The Wildcats re-assumed control of the game at that point, scoring the next 8 points of the game to take a fifteen point lead with 7 minutes remaining. MACU turned up the defensive pressure, converting several steals into easy baskets and pulled within 7 points, 76-69 with 5:02 left. The Wildcats protected the lead from that point and converted 6 of their final 10 free throws to secure the 82-71 victory.
Jay Keller led the way for the Wildcats with 17 points, including 4-8 shooting from 3 point range. Joshua Cohen and Mario Irby also reached double-figures with 12 and 11 points respectively. Cohen fell 1 rebound short of his second consecutive double-double as he finished with 9.
The Wildcats hit the road again Saturday as they travel to Toccoa Falls, Ga to face off with the Toccoa Falls Eagles. Tip time is set for 4:00pm.