Seniors Will Braden, Hunter Buescher, Cam Caldwell, David Johnson, and Matt Lee celebrate Senior Night. Photo courtesy of sewaneetigers.com.
By J.T. Mitchell
The Sewanee men’s basketball team defeated the Centre College Colonels 77-67 Saturday, February 16. The regular season finale capped off a 19-win regular season for the Tigers while celebrating the many contributions of the team’s five seniors: Will Braden, Hunter Buescher, Cam Caldwell, David Johnson, and Matt Lee.
The Tigers appeared to take a 17-9 lead in the first half, but the Colonels were able to take a one point lead with two minutes remaining in the first half.
Thanks to a big three-pointer by Michael Barry (C‘20), who put up a career-high 14 points, and a malicious blocked shot by Cam Caldwell (C‘19), Sewanee returned to the locker room at halftime with a 34-31 lead.
The Tigers then started the second half with seven unanswered points, increasing their lead to double digits. The Colonels weren’t done yet, though, as they cut the deficit back down to one with 9:44 remaining in the game.
A couple of big threes from Jordan Warlick gave the team some breathing room, and then, perfect free-throw shooting down the stretch by Barry and Hunter Buescher (C‘19) secured the win for Sewanee.
Fittingly, senior forward Cam Caldwell (C’19) led the way on both sides of the ball for the Tigers. The 2018 SAA defensive player of the year finished with 19 points, six rebounds, four blocks, and three steals. Luke Smith (C’21) also added 18 points.
“It was an emotional night to say the least,” Caldwell said following the game.
Indeed, it was a very special night for the Tigers but especially for the seniors. Beating the conference’s outright champion on senior night is an ideal way to conclude the regular season and gain momentum going into the most important time of the year.
“We’re looking forward to the [Southern Athletic Association] tournament and bringing a championship back to the mountain,” Buescher said.
The SAA tournament will begin on February 22 in Danville, Kentucky, and the Tigers will go in as the No. 3 seed.