GORHAM, Maine – Sophomore Salim Green (Yonkers, N.Y./Rye Country Day School) scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Wesleyan University Cardinals to a season-opening 84-63 win over the University of Southern Maine Huskies in the first game of the 2016 Herb Kenny Tip Off Tournament Friday night at Wesleyan (Conn.).
With the loss, Southern Maine stands at 1-1 on the season. Wesleyan, playing in its first game of the season, is now 1-0 with the win.
Green was 7-for-9 from the field, and a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line, to lead four players in double figures as Wesleyan advanced to the championship game of its tournament. Senior Joseph Kuo (New York, N.Y./The Governor’s Academy (Mass.)) and sophomore Kevin O’Brien (Tucson, Ariz./Bridgton Academy (Maine)) each scored 15 points, while sophomore Jordan Bonner (Houston, Texas./St. Andrew’s (Del.)) tossed in 10 points. Kuo had a double-double for the Cardinals with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Southern Maine senior Zach Leal (York, Maine) led the Huskies with 18 points and six rebounds. Senior Jacob Littlefield (Mechanic Falls, Maine/Poland) added 14 points, while junior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) added 11 points.
Wesleyan broke open a closely contested game on an 18-2 run midway through the second half. After a three from sophomore Kevin Weisser (Windham, Maine) pulled Southern Maine even with the Cardinals at 53 all with 12:33 remaining in the game, Wesleyan scored five consecutive points on a jumper from Green and a traditional three-point play from Kuo to snag a 60-53 advantage with 10:39 to go. Leal made a pair of free throws to break up the Cardinal surge, making it 60-55 with 10:20 to play, but Wesleyan roared back with 13 straight points to take control of the game 70-55 with 7:28 to go. Green and Kuo each scored five points in the run. Southern Maine pulled to within 14 with 5:32 to play on a McCue three, but it was as close as the Huskies would get the rest of the way.
Southern Maine returns to action on Saturday (1:00 p.m.) in the consolation game of the Herb Kenny Tournament, and will face the non-advancing team from the Western New England and Wheaton (Mass.) game being played tonight at 8 p.m.