WNEC entertains the University of New England in TCCC Tournament

TCCC Men’s Basketball Tournament
Seeds: 1. Curry (11-2), 2. Roger Williams (15-10), 3. Gordon (9-4), 4. Western New England College (9-4), 5. University of New England (9-4), 6. Wentworth (8-5), 7. Colby-Sawyer (8-5), 8. Endicott (7-6).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 – Quarterfinals
#8 Endicott (11-14) at #1 Curry (15-10), 7:00 p.m.
#7 Colby-Sawyer (13-10) a #2 Roger Williams (15-10), 7:00 p.m.
#6 Wentworth (14-10) at #3 Gordon (17-8), 7:00 p.m.
#5 University of New England (15-10) at #4 Western New England College (15-10), 8:00 p.m.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – It’s the "second season" for the Western New England College men’s basketball team who earned a home playoff game after a successful inaugural campaign in The Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC). The Golden Bears (15-10) gained the fourth seed in the tournament with a 9-4 mark.

WNEC will host fifth-seeded University of New England (also 15-10, 9-4) at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 26) in a quarterfinal round contest of the conference tournament at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.

In other games Tuesday (Feb. 26), top-seeded Curry hosts eighth-seeded Endicott, second-seeded Roger Williams entertains seventh-seeded Colby-Sawyer, and third-seeded Gordon will host sixth-seeded Wentworth.

The WNEC-UNE winner meets the Curry-Endicott survivor at the higher seed on Thursday (Feb. 28). The TCCC Tournament championship game will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday (March 1) at the higher seed.

Another close game is expected after the Golden Bears posted a 69-67 overtime victory over the Nor’easters in their regular season meeting on February 2 in Springfield.

Western New England College has a balanced scoring attack with four players averaging in double figures led by senior forward Jim Bayne (Bristol, CT) (11.5 avg.) who is also second in rebounding (6.2). One of the top players in the region, Bayne is ninth on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,309 points and fourth with 811 career rebounds.

Senior guard Ryan Hernandez (Hampton Bays, NY) (10.8) is among the best long-range shooters in the conference and the school record-holder with 210 three-pointers. Junior guard Matt Maynard (Paterson, NJ) (10.6) again has provided key points at critical junctures during the season.

Junior forward Kyle Fredette (Wallingford, VT) (10.4) is enjoying his best season leading the team in rebounding (10.3) and block shots (55), which are both ranked second in the conference.

Another player to watch is senior point guard Asif Abdul-Wadud (Springfield, MA) (9.2) who leads the squad in assists (87, which is third in TCCC) and steals (54).

Western New England College is averaging 67.5 points a contest while allowing 65.1 points.

The University of New England has three players averaging in double figures led by junior guard Johnnie Jefferson (Dallas, TX) who is third in the conference (19.0 avg.). He also is second on the team in rebounding (6.0).

Junior guard and fellow Lone Star State native Jaykyri Simpson (East Cleburne, TX) is second in scoring (16.4) and the league leader in assists (132). Senior forward Issac Stickney (Rumford, ME) (13.8) leads the Nor’easters in rebounding (6.7) and blocks (29).

The University of New England averaging 76.6 points an outing while allowing only 67.9 points.