Comeback Falls Short in Loss to Bowdoin at ECSU Tip-Off Tournament

Comeback Falls Short in Loss to Bowdoin at ECSU Tip-Off Tournament
WILLIMANTIC, Conn.--Senior co-captain Damon Alston scored a game-high 20 points and the Western New England University men's basketball team made 10 3-pointers while shooting 52.6 percent beyond the arc, but it wasn't enough as the Golden Bears' comeback attempt fell short in a 72-63 loss Saturday to Bowdoin College in the third-place game of the 32nd annual Tip-Off Classic at Geissler Gymnasium on the Eastern Connecticut State University campus. The Golden Bears fall to 0-2 on the young season while the Polar Bears improve to 1-1.

Keegan Pieri led Bowdoin with 17 points and Andrew Madlinger made all six of his field goal attempts, including three treys, to score 15. John Swords came off the bench to add 12 and Bryan Hurley scored 11.

Junior guard Ryan Mickiewicz scored 15 points on five 3-pointers and junior center Dennis Rinaldi contributed 14 for the Golden Bears, who never led in the game.

For the second day in a row, Western New England dug itself an early hole due to a slow start while its opponent made shots. For the first 10 minutes, the Golden Bears shot only 19.7 percent from the floor to the Polar Bears' 57.1 clip, resulting in a 14-point deficit, 22-8, at the 11:16 mark of the first half.

But, unlike yesterday, the Golden Bears got back into the game and eventually tied it at 34-all with 1 minute and 29 seconds remaining after sophomore Musa Elsir drilled a 3-pointer to cap a 26-12 run over almost a 10-minute span. Alston keyed a 10-0 spurt during that time with five points.

Bowdoin took a 37-34 lead at halftime on a Marko Peraica trey with 1 second on the clock.

After Mickiewicz's 3-pointer tied the game 37-37 to begin the second half, Andrew Madlinger connected on a pair of treys to help Bowdoin go back on top for good at 46-37. The Golden Bears managed to get back within three points, but then the Polar Bears went on another scoring spree to build as much as an 18-point cushion with 7:28 to go.

Western New England did well to protect the basketball again, committing only 11 turnovers.

Rinaldi, who also had four steals, pulled down eight rebounds to lead all players and freshman forward Zack Askew added seven for Western New England, which did a better job on the glass with Bowdoin holding a slight 38-37 edge. (Friday against ECSU, WNE was outrebounded 46-27 in a 28-point loss.)

Hurley dished 10 assists for the Polar Bears, who got seven rebounds apiece from reserve players Swords and Lucas Hausman.