SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Sophomore guards Anthony Johnson (Austin, TX) and Marcus Winn (Austin, TX) combined for 53 points as the University of New England men’s basketball team rallied for an 87-79 victory over Western New England College Saturday afternoon (Jan. 30) at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.
The Nor’easters evened their record at 9-9 and improved to 5-2 in The Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC) while the Golden Bears dropped to 9-9 and 4-3 in the conference. Both teams came into the contest tied for second in the league.
Johnson poured in a game-high 30 points with seven rebounds and four steals. Winn made seven-of-13 shots from the field (including four three-pointers) and finished with 23 points in a reserve role. Sophomore forward Quentin Thompson (Austin, TX) also played a key role recording a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds with seven assists and seven steals.
UNE took an early nine-point lead before Western New England College came back for a 40-37 advantage at intermission.
With the game tied at 53, the Golden Bears used a 9-0 run to take their biggest lead of the game (62-53) following a NBA three-pointer by sophomore guard Andre Shaw (Jamaica, NY) with 11:53 left.
The Nor’easters answered with seven straight points (including the last five by Johnson) to get within 62-60 at the 9:10 mark.
WNEC stretched its lead to 72-67 when senior guard Rick Johnson (Springfield, MA) made a lay-up with 5:16 left.
Winn scored on a lay-up that gave the visitors their first lead since the first half at 76-74 with 3:30 remaining. Johnson followed with a three-point play off an in-bounds pass under the basket that gave Western New England College its final lead at 77-76 with a little over two minutes to play.
Lay-ups by Winn and Johnson, and two free throws by junior guard Chris Rentrope (Peoria, AZ) gave the Nor’easters a five-point cushion (82-57) with 41.1 seconds on the clock.
Shaw led five Golden Bears in double figures with 19 points while junior forward Brad Thomka (Springfield, MA) netted 15 points (seven-of-10 from the field) to go along with eight rebounds.
Junior guard Chris Devine (Wilbraham, MA) tallied 13 points with seven rebounds and seven assists.
Senior forward Brendan Murphy (West Springfield, MA) added 11 points while Johnson finished with 10 points. Senior guard Mike Booker (Springfield, MA) had nine points, along with 15 rebounds, and six assists (both career highs).
Western New England College shot a respectable 49.3% from the field, but committed a season high 34 turnovers. UNE compiled 20 steals with Johnson and Rentrope each having four thefts apiece.