Middletown, Conn. - Senior co-captain Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored the game-winning bucket with two seconds left, giving Trinity College its first lead in the game since 2-0 and leading the Bantams to a 51-49 victory over the Wesleyan University Cardinals in the opening round of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Men's Basketball Championship Tournament this afternoon at Silloway Gymnasium. Trinity, seeded No. 5 in the eight-team tourney field, improves to 16-9 and advances to the its fourth consecutive NESCAC Semifinal Round. The Bantams will face the No. 2-seeded Middlebury College Panthers in the NESCAC Semifinals at Tufts next Saturday. Wesleyan falls to 19-6 and will have to wait to see if it is selected for the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament when those bids are announced next Sunday.
Trailing, 47-41, with 4:48 on the clock, the Bantams scored the next six points to tie it at 47-47 at the 2:18 mark on a jumper and four free throws by junior Eric Gendron (Merrimack, N.H.). Wesleyan's Kevin O'Brien and Ogundeko traded layups to make it 49-all with one minute left to play, but O'Brien missed a layup and two free throws before Trinity sophomore Jeremy Arthur (Westbury, N.Y.) took a charge against him to give the Bantams the ball with 17 seconds remaining. Gendron took the ball on the right wing and fed Ogudenko on a pick-and-roll and his short jumper bounced around the rim before falling through the hoop for the clincher. The Trinity defense deflected away Wesleyan's attempt at a long pass to end the game.
"Ed's our horse," Trinity Head Coach James Cosgrove said. "We're not going away from him. He's the best kid ever. I love him. He works harder than anybody I've ever coached, and when the game is on the line I want him to have the ball."
After Trinity senior co-captain Chris Turnbull (Ridgewood, N.J.) opened the game with a drive, the Cardinals jumped ahead to leads of 8-2 and 14-4. Wesleyan maintained its advantage throughout the first half and took a 26-18 lead on a trey by Wesleyan's Jordan Bonner with 38 seconds left, before Trinity first-year forward Kyle Padmore (Milton, Mass.) answered with a jumper with four seconds left before halftime. Bonner opened the second stanza with another three-pointer and the Cardinals led by at least four points until a jumper by Gendron and a three-pointer by Turnbull pulled the Bantams to within a point at 42-41 with 6:16 on the clock. Tim Krill answered with a long ball for the home team, and a basket by J.R. Bascom inside put Wesleyan ahead, 47-41.
Trinity outrebounded the Cardinals, 48-37, and held Wesleyan to 30.6 percent field-goal shooting. The Bantams won despite sinking just 27.9 percent of their own field goals, 68.2 percent of their free throws, and just two three-pointers in 14 attempts. The Cardinals did not help their cause by missing 12 of 25 tries from the charity stripe. Gendron led Trinity in scoring with 13 points, including 11 in the second half, to go with five rebounds, while Turnbull had 12 points and six boards, and Ogundeko finished with eight points, a game-high 13 boards, and three blocked shots. Jordan Bonner paced Wesleyan with 13 points, while Krill had 10 points and eight rebounds.