Alston Equals Career-High with 31 Points in Win vs. Salve Regina

Alston Equals Career-High with 31 Points in Win vs. Salve Regina
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--Senior guard Damon Alston matched his career high of 31 points on 11 of 19 field goal shooting, including four 3-pointers, as the Western New England men’s basketball team defeated visiting Salve Regina, 68-57, in Commonwealth Coast Conference play Tuesday night at the Alumni Healthful Living Center field house. The Golden Bears are now 7-12 (5-7 CCC) after snapping a two-game conference losing streak, while Salve Regina drops to 10-9 overall and 6-6 in the conference.

Western New England led tonight wire to wire, building a 14-4 lead in the first six minutes thanks to five points by Alston, and six by forward Musa Elsir. The Golden Bears never allowed Salve Regina to get into a rhythm offensively in the first half, holding the visiting team to a 34.5% shooting clip from the field.

The Seahawks made a run to close the gap at the end of the first half, led by guard Isiah Pringle who came into the game leading the CCC in 3-pointers with 47. Pringle had been quiet for most of the first half, but he sank two 3s in the final minutes to cut Western New England’s lead down to 30-26 at the half.

Salve Regina kept its momentum going at the start of the second half, as Pringle made another trey and the Seahawks got within one at 32-31. The Golden Bears then went a run of their own, capped off by an Alston 3-pointer with 14:37 remaining that put WNE back up by 10 points, 41-31. The lead stayed at ten until a put-back by Sinclair Lewis (12 points off the bench, 4 rebounds) increased the margin to 51-39.

The play of the game came moments later, when Lewis threaded the needle on a beautiful pass to a cutting Alston, who converted the layup despite being fouled. The three-point play put the Golden Bears up by 15, and they were never seriously threatened after that.

Elsir (8 points, 6 rebounds) and Dennis Rinaldi (6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) also played key roles in helping the Golden Bears pull out the victory. Alston also netted 31 points in his previous game against Nichols on Saturday.

On the other side, the Seahawks were led by guards William Smiley (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Pringle (15 points, 2 steals, 2 rebounds).

Western New England dominated the glass, 47-31, which yielded 21 second-chance points to 11 by the Seahawks.

Western New England returns to action Thursday night at Wentworth, looking to build some momentum going into the last couple weeks of the conference season. The Golden Bears defeated Wentworth at home on Jan. 8 by a score of 67-63.