PROVIDENCE, RI – Defense is the hallmark of the Johnson & Wales University men's basketball team and the Wildcats got the defensive stops it needed down the stretch to defeat Norwich in the quarterfinals of the GNAC Tournament. The Wildcats defeated the Cadets 77-72 on Tuesday.
Johnson & Wales: 17-9
Jesse Davis nailed a three-pointer to tie the game, 67-67, with 2:48 to play. JWU got steals on Norwich's next two possessions and Randall Ferdinand converted those into a 71-67 Wildcat lead. Johnson & Wales got 27 points off 17 Norwich turnovers.
The Cadets led for a good portion of the first half. A Donovian Maxfield three-pointer tied the game, 26-26, with 8:05 remaining in the half. That sparked a Wildcats' run that was capped four minutes later by a Ferdinand layup to put JWU up 40-28 on its way to a 44-38 halftime lead.
The Cadets shot 53.6 percent from the floor in the first, but the Wildcats had the equalizer behind the three-point line. JWU was 10-15 (66.7%), including Maxfield who was 4-4. The Wildcats were 0-9 in the second half from three-point range, but hit 13-14 from the free throw line.
All five JWU starters reached double figures, topped by Ferdinand with 20 points. Jarell Lawson – who sealed the victory with four free throws in the final 30 seconds – was next at 17. Rookie Nate Patenaude produced an 11-point, 14-rebound double-double.
Ove half off Norwich's points came from a pair of players. Zygimantas Sirvydas led everyone with 24 points while Davis was next with 20 points. Norwich shot 47.3 percent from the field.
Johnson & Wales moves on to face Suffolk in Thursday's semifinal at 7 p.m. JWU defeated the Rams 94-57 on January 20.