Field Goal, Free Throw Shooting Doom Men's Basketball versus Endicott

Field Goal, Free Throw Shooting Doom Men's Basketball versus Endicott
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--The Western New England men’s basketball team fought all the way back from a 12-point second-half deficit before falling to Endicott, 70-64, Saturday at the Alumni Healthful Living Center field house in Commonwealth Coast Conference play. The Golden Bears, losers of four of their last five games, drop to 7-14 overall (5-9 CCC), while visiting Endicott improves to 9-12 on the season (4-10 CCC).

Trailing 66-64, the Golden Bears had the ball with two minutes to go and a chance to tie or take the lead, but a Damon Alston floater rattled out and Endicott grabbed the rebound. On the ensuing play, Lance Green nailed a back-breaking 3-pointer, putting the Gulls back up five and effectively ending Western New England’s comeback hopes.

The Golden Bears, led by Dennis Rinaldi’s eight points and seven rebounds (five offensive), dominated the paint in the first half, outscoring Endicott 20-4. Still, the Gulls held a 36-31 lead at the break on the strength of guard John Henault’s 10 points (2-3 3FG). Endicott played strong defense in the first half by blocking three shots and recording five steals.

In the first five minutes of the second half, the Gulls were able to build on their five point halftime lead, going up 51-39 with 14 minutes and 48 seconds to play. Endicott, despite shooting 66.7 percent from the field in the second half, slowly allowed the home team to get back into the game. Reserve freshman Sinclair Lewis was able to spark WNE’s comeback with layups on back to back possessions, and his ability to get to the free-throw line in the later stages of the game.

Zack Askew converted a traditional three-point play with 4:39 remaining, and a couple minutes later Lewis erased the last two points off Western New England’s deficit by draining two free throws to tie it at 64-all with 2:35 left. Unfortunately for the Golden Bears, those two free throws would be their last points of the afternoon.

Western New England was led by Rinaldi (15 points, nine rebounds), Alston (12 points) and Lewis, who scored all 12 of his points in the second half.

The Gulls were able to win on the road with a balanced offensive attack in which four players scored in double figures. Henault led the way with 20 points and four rebounds, followed by reserve Matt Kneece (13 points, six boards), Greene (13 points, five rebounds, four assists), and guard Lachlan Magee (12 points, three assists).

The Golden Bears return to action Wednesday night at Curry in CCC action.