Belmont, NC -- After posting a 6-1 record since the holiday break, the Johnson & Wales Men's Basketball Team made a trip to take on nearby Belmont Abbey College to test their performance against an NCAA Division II program. The Wildcats have been climbing the USCAA Coaches Poll, and they will face competition like this if they finish out their season strong and earn a bid to the USCAA Division II National Championships. The Wildcats have never defeated Belmont Abbey, but they challenged the Crusaders in their closest match-up yet, losing 79-71 Saturday night.
The Wildcats had a strong showing in the first half, shooting 43% overall and 54% from three-point range. JWU was certainly within striking distance after the first period, down 41-35 at the half. The team went cold from beyond the arc, however, and the Wildcats were forced to develop other options on offense. The Crusaders, meanwhile, continued their hot shooting from outside and finished 14-28 from three-point range. The second half saw Belmont Abbey outscore the Wildcats by only one basket, but the Crusaders were able to sustain their initial lead and withstand a final push from the Wildcats to pull out the win. JWU held Belmont Abbey scoreless from the field for the final five minutes of the game, but they were only able to close the gap to as few as five points as the Crusaders converted from the free throw line down the stretch.
JWU moves to 13-10 on the year and looks to rebound Tuesday at 7:30 PM when they host Bob Jones University, a team the Wildcats defeated by twenty-seven points two weeks ago, in the Student Center. Tramain Parker led the Wildcats with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds, and JWU's other double-figure scorers were Rickey Porter with 17, DeQuincey Bennett with 13, and Joshua Cohen with 12.