PAXTON, Mass. - Senior guard Ryan Hernandez (Hampton Bays, NY) scored 16 points to lead the Western New England College men's basketball team to an important 64-56 victory over host Anna Maria Wednesday night (Feb. 20).
The win gave the Golden Bears a 15-9 record, including a 9-3 mark in The Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC), and kept the team's home playoff hopes still alive.
WNEC is tied for third in the conference with the University of New England heading into the final game of the regular season at Colby-Sawyer on Saturday (Feb. 23).
Junior forward Kyle Fredette (Wallingford, VT) compiled a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Golden Bears bounced back from a home loss against Gordon last Saturday. He has 12 double-doubles this season.
Senior forward Jim Bayne (Bristol, CT) added nine points and six rebounds while senior point guard Asif Abdul-Wadud (Springfield, MA) contributed six assists and seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Paul Kennedy (Longmeadow, MA) tied his season high with eight points in a reserve role.
WNEC led 28-25 at halftime before the Amcats rallied from a nine-point deficit at the 15:16 mark of the second half to tie the contest twice, the last time at 54-54 with 3:16 remaining. Junior guard Matt Maynard (Paterson, NJ) hit a jumper with two minutes left that started a 6-0 run for the Golden Bears, and four free throws by Bayne and two by Hernandez in the final 36 seconds spoiled the upset bid.
Western New England College didn't shoot particularly well finishing with a 38.6% mark, but the Golden Bears' defense limited the hosts to only 30.6% shooting from the field while forcing 14 turnovers.
Freshman guard Junior DeLaHoz (Lawrence, MA) (20 points) and freshman guard Ryan Brown (Worcester, MA) (10 points) combined for more than half of the Amcats points.
Anna Maria falls to 8-16 and 2-10 in TCCC.