SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Sophomore guard Andre Shaw (Jamaica, NY) netted a game high 22 points in only his second collegiate start to lead the Western New England College men’s basketball team to an 88-81 victory over visiting Endicott Saturday afternoon (Jan. 16) at the Alumni Healthful Living Center (AHLC).
This was an important early-season match-up for both teams in The Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC) as the Golden Bears moved to 2-1 in the league and 6-7 overall. The Gulls fall to 1-2 in the conference and 6-8 overall.
Western New England College held a 42-34 advantage at the break and jumped to a 10-point lead at 50-40 on a lay-up by junior guard Andre Duncan (Bronx, NY) with 16:12 left.
Endicott quickly caught up using a 14-3 run over a 4:38 stretch to go ahead 54-43 following a jumper by senior guard Graham Whitelaw (Kennebunk, ME) at the 11:34 mark. The Gulls took their biggest lead at 60-56 when senior guard Kevin McGuire (New City, NY) buried a pair of long three-pointers in 26 seconds, the last coming with 10:42 remaining.
The Golden Bears answered by scoring 13 consecutive points over the next 4:23 capped by a pair of free throws by junior forward Brad Thomka (Springfield, MA) for a 73-63 margin with a little less than six minutes to go. The visitors couldn’t get any closer than four points twice in the final 3:15.
Shaw connected on 8-of-13 shots from the field and made five-of-nine three pointers in compiling his second highest scoring total of the season.
Junior guard Chris Devine (Wilbraham, MA) continued his solid play with 17 points (7-of-10 from the field) and nine rebounds.
Senior guard Rick Johnson (Springfield, MA) poured in 17 points and earned his first career double-double by dishing out a career high 11 assists. He also contributed six rebounds. Senior forward Brendan Murphy (West Springfield, MA) was the fourth WNEC player in double figures with 13 points. He also pulled down eight rebounds and had three steals.
Freshman guard Lance Greene (Dorchester, MA) led the Gulls with 17 points to go along with three assists and two steals. Whitelaw finished with 16 points in a reserve role with four rebounds and three assists. McGuire chipped-in with 13 points and five rebounds. Endicott received 43 players from its reserves.
Both teams bombed away from three-point territory all game with Endicott making 13-of-34 attempts (38.2%) while shooting 39.7% from the field. The Gulls were proficient at the foul line making 14-of-15 attempts (93.3%).
Western New England College shot 60.4% from the field in the second half and ended with a 53.2% mark for its second highest effort of the year. The Golden Bears also made 10-of-21 three-pointers (47.6%).
The Golden Bears hit the road for four games beginning Monday with a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day outing starting at 7:00 p.m. at Tufts. WNEC returns home to meet the University of New England on January 30.