Wilson-Thomas nets 24 to lead men's hoops past Bluffton

Elijah Wilson-Thomas brings the ball up-court versus Bluffton.

RICHMOND, Ind. – Senior Elijah Wilson-Thomas poured in 24 points to lead three Quakers in double digits as Earlham College men's basketball sailed past Bluffton University, 76-63, in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference contest Wednesday night at the Druley Performance Center.

Wilson-Thomas turned in a 6-of-9 shooting performance from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, and a 10-of-11 mark from the free throw line on his way to his eighth 20-point game of the season.

Darrell Hutchison Jr. finished with 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds for Earlham (5-13, 3-8 Heartland), while first year player Jamel Barnes came away with 10 points.

After a see-saw first half that saw six lead changes and five ties, Bluffton grabbed a seven-point lead, 57-50, at the 10:46 mark of the second half following a pair of Kevin Christie foul shots, and seemed to have the contest well in hand.

However that momentum, and the outcome of the game, swung wildly back in the Quakers' direction over a mere matter of minutes.

A Hutchison layup cut the margin the five points, and a layup attempt by the Beavers' Dezman Brown was blocked by Barnes at the other end of the floor.

That led to a fast-break layup by Wilson-Thomas, who was fouled on the play. He converted the and-one, reducing Bluffton's lead to two points, 57-55, and breathing life into the home crowd.

After a Barnes free throw that cut the difference to one point, a Wilson-Thomas trey at the 7:03 mark gave Earlham its first lead of the second half, 59-57. Hutchison capped the 11-0 Quaker run with his layup with 6:13 showing on the clock.

Another Wilson-Thomas 3-pointer with 2:43 to play gave Earlham its first double-digit lead of the game, 69-59, and the Quakers held the Beavers in check the rest of the way.

Earlham shot .500 (22-of-44) from the field, despite going just 3-for-14 from beyond the arc. The Quakers capitalized on Bluffton's 26 fouls, going 29-of-33 at the charity stripe.

Bluffton (8-10, 5-6 Heartland) also had three players in double figures, led by Christie and Andrew Renner with 16 points each.

Earlham men's basketball returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 27, when it travels to Anderson University to face the Ravens in an HCAC matchup. Tip-off is slated for 3:00 p.m.

For more information about Earlham men's basketball, visit the online home of Earlham College athletics at www.GoEarlham.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Earlham athletics news by following Earlham Quakers on Facebook (Earlham Quakers Athletics), Twitter (@EarlhamQuakers), and Instagram (EarlhamQuakers).