VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Wesley's 10th-ranked team defeated Alvernia 83-78 on Friday night in the First Round of the NCAA tournament. The victory was the Wolverines' first in the NCAA tournament and improves their record to a program-best 23-3.
Quincy Pettiford scored a game-high 20 points and hit several pivotal free throws down the stretch to lead the Wolverines. Three other Wesley players were also in double figures, including David Langan who notched his 14th double-double of the season with 19 points (9 of 13 shooting) and 12 rebounds. Eric Selby added 12 points and Anthony Bowers chipped in with 10 points off the bench.
The game was neck-and-neck throughout the entire first half and midway through the second with neither team extending a lead more than six points.
With 13:10 remaining on the clock and Wesley trailing 48-47 Selby drove in for a layup to put Wesley back on top and the Wolverines never trailed from then on. The Crusaders (20-8) continued to keep it close but after an Alvernia jumper by Lamont Clark with 8:17 left cut Wesley's lead to 59-57, the Wolverines went on a 17-5 run in the next five minutes to extend their advantage to 76-62 with 3:10 left to play. Pettiford came up big during the stretch with seven points, including a triple to put Wesley on top by 14.
Alvernia did not go down without a fight, however, and made four three-pointers in the final three minutes and at one point made it a one-possession game at 81-78 with 18 seconds left after a three by Charles Cooper (19 points). The Crusaders immediately fouled Pettiford on the inbounds pass and Pettiford drained both shots to seal the victory.