Alston Drops 30 Points to Help Men's Basketball Outlast Western Connecticut

Alston Drops 30 Points to Help Men's Basketball Outlast Western Connecticut
DANBURY, Conn.--Guard Damon Alston scored a Western New England season-high 30 points to pace all players on Wednesday, and sophomore forward Musa Elsir and junior center Dennis Rinaldi tallied 20 and 16 apiece, as the Golden Bears outlasted host Western Connecticut State in double overtime, 93-85, in non-conference men's basketball action at Feldman Arena. In both teams' first game of the new calendar year, the Golden Bears improve to 3-6 on the season while Colonials drop to 2-9.

A senior co-captain, Alston connected on 10 of 17 shots, including three 3-pointers, and made 7 of 8 free throw attempts to establish a career high with 30 points--equaling the most by a Golden Bear in two seasons--in 32 minutes of action. He scored all but six of his points in the last 30 minutes of the game.

Russell Payton paced the Colonials with 23 points and Joseph Groski posted a double-double with 10 points and game-best 13 rebounds.

After the teams were tied 30-all at halftime, 63-all at the end of regulation and 73-all following the first overtime, the Golden Bears outscored the Colonials 20 to 12 over the last five minutes of the game to seize control.

Junior Ryan Mickiewicz (6 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists, zero turnovers) made two free throws in the second overtime to equal WNE's largest lead of the evening at 11 points, 86-75, with 2 minutes and 2 seconds to go.

Alston made a pair of free throws with 8 seconds left to send the game into the first extra session.

Rinaldi added five steals, six rebounds and three assists for the Golden Bears, who shot 42.1 percent from the field.

Senior co-captain James Hock scored his only points of the game on a jumper in the paint that gave WNE a seemingly comfortable 51-40 advantage with 10 minutes remaining in regulation. But Payton scored five straight points to ignite a 17-5 run over a 5:58 span to help Western Connecticut take a 57-56 lead.

For the final 5 minutes of regulation and 5 minutes of the first overtime, neither team led by more than two points.

Western New England was out-rebounded 55 to 44. Elsir pulled down eight and freshman Zack Askew matched Rinaldi with six.

Western Connecticut didn't help itself by making just 53.7 percent at the free throw stripe, or 22 of 41. The Golden Bears were 23 of 33 for 69.7 percent.