Men's Basketball Comeback Falls Short in First CCC Loss

Men's Basketball Comeback Falls Short in First CCC Loss
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--The Western New England men’s basketball team came out on the wrong end of an early season Commonwealth Coast Conference showdown, losing Thursday night at the Alumni Healthful Living Center field house to visiting Roger Williams by a score of 72-66. After the loss the Golden Bears record is now 2-5 (2-1 CCC), while Roger Williams picks up its first conference win of the season and improves to 2-4 (1-2 CCC).

Sophomore Musa Elsir and junior center Dennis Rinaldi led the Golden Bears with 12 and 11 points, respectively. In his first career start, freshman Garey Allen had nine points.

Joseph Henry led four Hawks in double figures with a game-best 17 points, followed by Ryan Palumbo with 15, Mike Igoe had 14 and James LeCardi, 10.
Western New England controlled the glass, 34-24, behind the efforts of Rinaldi with eight rebounds and freshman Zack Askew posted seven. Igoe had six for Roger Williams.

Western New England fought back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to get within six points after two consecutive defensive stops led to layups for freshman Sinclair Lewis (8 points) with 5 minutes and 30 seconds remaining. That would be as close as the home team would get, however, as Roger Williams responded with a basket, a steal, and a three-point play, effectively ending any hopes of a Golden Bears comeback.

The first half started out on a positive note for Western New England, as it was able to feed the ball inside to Rinaldi for six early points. The Golden Bears led early on, but Roger Williams was able to recover and gain a lead of its own on the strength of its shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.

The Hawks continued to shoot very well from the field, finishing the half at 52.2 percent (12-23), including 46.2 percent from three-point range (6-13). Roger Williams was able to take a 35-27 lead into the break thanks to this hot shooting and some offensive struggles for the Golden Bears.

The first-half offensive struggles carried over into the second for Western New England, as the Hawks’ lead grew to 47-33 with 13 minutes remaining. Roger Williams continued to hit timely threes to end several Golden Bears runs and keep them at bay.

Western New England was able to make it interesting at the end, when Allen and Min Lin each nailed a 3-pointer in the final minute, but it proved to be too little too late.

The Golden Bears return to action on Saturday, when they host Westfield State in a non-conference tilt at 3:00 p.m. at the AHLC.