The Johnson and Wales Wildcats defeated the Bruins men’s basketball team 71-57 on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins fell to 1-11 overall, while the Wildcats moved to a 3-10 record.

The Wildcats jumped out to an early 7-3 lead, courtesy of a Taylor Thomas three-pointer. The Bruins’ Ray Holden Jr. hit a pair of free throws to make it 7-5, before Josh Clater scored a tough shot while getting fouled. He completed the three-point play to put the Bruins up 8-7.

The Bruins offense stumbled, however, and the Wildcats took advantage, moving to a 22-13 lead.

A great drive and dish by Bruins guard Zach Mercado found Clater in the lane for an easy flush to get the Bruins going again. Another bucket by Clater made it 22-15, but a couple of quick scores capped by a long three-pointer extended the Wildcats’ lead to 30-17.

At halftime the Bruins trailed 36-25, but the Bruins didn’t lose their composure.

“We’ve been there before so we don’t have the worries that we had before,” Holden said. “We just try to buckle down and come out ready for the second half.”

Holden converted several drives to the rim, and a layup from Mercado closed the gap to four points.

“We got some turnovers, knocked down some shots and created opportunities purely with energy and good effort,” Coach Neal Ring said. “We climbed, clawed and scratched our way back into it.”

Poor shooting and some costly turnovers derailed the Bruins before they could overhaul the Wildcats, who pushed the lead back to 50-39. The Wildcats stayed in front for the rest of the match with many second-chance points from offensive rebounds and turnovers. Eventually the Bruins had to start fouling in an attempt to get the ball back, and the game ended 71-57 in favor of the Wildcats.

Mercado led the Bruins with 22 points and Holden finished with 16. The Wildcats’ high scorers were Thomas and Robbie Sterling, who finished with 18 and 12 points respectively.