SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Senior guard Rick Johnson (Springfield, MA) and senior forward Brendan Murphy (West Springfield, MA) combined for 42 points to lad the Western New England College men’s basketball team to a 75-64 victory over visiting Hartwick Thursday night (Dec. 10) at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.
Johnson finished with 25 points and seven assists while Murphy added 17 points after combining to make 16-of-26 shots (61.5%) from the field. Both players pulled down four rebounds apiece. Johnson made 9-of-18 field-goal attempts while Murphy connected on 7-of-8 shots.
Sophomore guard Andre Shaw (Jamaica, NY) was the third Golden Bears’ player in double figures with 10 points after hitting on 5-of-10 shots.
WNEC raced to a 14-2 lead a little less than six minutes into the game before Hartwick came back to get within six at halftime (35-29).
Murphy’s lay-up gave the Golden Bears a 46-34 advantage with 15:50 left, but the Hawks again rallied getting 62-60 on a lay-up by senior forward Kyle Phillips (Ashland, MA) at the 4:33 mark. Phillips was unstoppable during the comeback scoring 14 straight points in almost seven minutes.
Western New England College (3-4) answered with an 11-0 run capped by Murphy’s free throw with 42 seconds remaining.
Phillips finished with 25 points after making 8-of-11 shots from the field and all nine free throws.
Sophomore guard Mark Blazek (Erie, PA) contributed 15 points, with 13 coming in the second half.
Western New England College shot 50.8% from the field and held a 37-28 edge in rebounding. Junior forward Brad Thomka (Springfield, MA) had a game high eight rebounds for the hosts.
Hartwick, which was a perfect 13-for-13 from the charity stripe, drops to 4-5.