The Widlcats began A.I.I. conference action with a matchup against Central Christian College in CCC's A.I.I. Classic on Friday evening.
The host Tigers got off to a hot start, jumping out in front 13-4 over the first six minutes of play. The 'Cats rallied to close the gap to a one point deficit at the 7:57 mark. Central Christian College and JWU went back and forth, matching one another bucket for bucket. The Tigers made a late push to take a 38-31 lead into the break.
Aaron Stone (Elizabeth, Colo.) started the second half with back to back three pointers for JWU to bring Johnson & Wales within one. Jontrell Herman (Duck Hill, Miss.) hit a three pointer to tie the game 40-40 with 17:52 left in the game. Central Christian's three point shooting started to heat up as the Tigers hit four straight threes to again pull away. The Tiger's shooting from beyond the arc allowed them to stretch their lead to double digits.
A flurry of shots by JWU late in the period allowed them to cut into the lead but ultimately the Tigers picked up the 80-68 conference victory.
Herman led all players with a game high 23 points and had seven assists for Johnson & Wales. Herman and Stone each had seven rebounds for the 'Cats. Sam Clayborn had 19 points for CCC and Kendric Warren brought down nine boards.
The Wildcats continue A.I.I. play on Saturday afternoon when they take on College of the Ozarks at 1pm MT.