A red hot start by the sixth ranked Wildcats of Indiana Wesleyan University proved too much for the Goshen College men’s basketball team as they were defeated 87-78 Tuesday night at Luckey Arena.

The Wildcats (19-4, 9-2 in conference) made 21 of their 27 first half shot attempts in route to a commanding 54-39 advantage heading into the break. The 15-point lead quickly extended to 23 early in the second frame, but the Leafs refused to lay down.

Led by Billy Geschke, a junior, and Xavier Newson, a senior, the Leafs sparked a 16-0 run partway through the half. The comeback attempt lasted a total of six minutes and 55 seconds. Goshen used free baskets and open looks to close the gap by finding their own hot hand, finishing 10-of-12 from the line and 4-for-6 from the field to bring them within seven with 5:39 to play.

However, a veteran presence for the Wildcats would not allow their lead to dwindle any further, as they quickly charged back to a double digit lead. The Wildcats’ advantage did not dip under eight for the remainder of the contest.

Newson finished at the top of the scoring column for the Leafs with 22 points by capitalizing on 8-of-11 shot attempts including a 4-of-6 mark from three-point range. Geschke finished a perfect 10-for-10 from the line to boost his Crossroads League leading free throw percentage to 91.7 percent on the year, to go along with 18 total points. Christian Grider and Devin Heath-Granger, juniors, contributed 12 and 11 points respectively. Goshen ended the game shooting 51 percent from the floor and 74.1 percent from the free-throw line, but were outrebounded 32-to-23.

Goshen looks to get back into the win column this Saturday as they host conference rival Grace College. Tip-off for that contest is set for 1 p.m., with Goshen’s women’s basketball team to follow at 3 p.m.