Men's Basketball Falls at Wentworth Institute of Technology

Men's Basketball Falls at Wentworth Institute of Technology
BOSTON--The Western New England University men’s basketball team was within one point of tying Wentworth with five minutes remaining in the game but came up just short, falling to the Leopards in Commonwealth Coast Conference action Thursday night, 53-47, at Tansey Gymnasium. The Golden Bears fall to 5-8 in the CCC and 7-13 overall. The Leopards improve to 13-7 overall and 9-4 in the CCC, which is good for second in the league.

A Kevin Wilkes layup with 5:21 left brought Western New England within one, at 47-46, but from there the Golden Bears would manage only one more point, while committing three turnovers before finally losing by six. Western New England had trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half, but were able to come back during a run in which Wilkes scored all eight of his points.

The Golden Bears led early, but Wentworth quickly took control and built up a 10-point lead that the hosts were able to maintain for most of the first half. The Leopards led at the half, 27-21, largely because they were able to grab nine offensive rebounds, leading to several second-chance opportunities.

The Golden Bears opened up the second half the same way they began the game, and were able to close the gap to 29-28 on two Zack Askew free throws three minutes in. A small Wentworth run gave the home team a seven-point advantage that turned into an 11-point lead when Ray Bessette knocked down a shot from beyond the 3-point arc with just under 11 minutes to go in the game. This set up Western New England’s final comeback attempt, fueled by Wilkes.

The Golden Bears struggled offensively, as none of their starters reached double figures in scoring. Reserve guard Sinclair Lewis led the team with 10 points, two rebounds, and two assists, and forward Dennis Rinaldi chipped in with six points and eight rebounds. Star guard Damon Alston, who scored 31 points in each of his last two previous contests, finished with only three points on 1-8 shooting.

The Leopards were paced by guard Derek Mayo (11 points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals) and reserve Colin Johnson (13 points, seven rebounds).

The Golden Bears return to action Saturday afternoon, when they host Endicott in CCC play.