Golden Bears Use Strong Second Half to Clip Leopards

Golden Bears Use Strong Second Half to Clip Leopards
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--Senior co-captain Damon Alston sank four free throws in the final 12 seconds as part of a game-tying 12-point effort on Tuesday to help Western New England secure a 67-63 Commonwealth Coast Conference men's basketball victory over Wentworth at the Alumni Healthful Living Center field house. The Golden Bears improve to 4-7 on the season, including 3-2 in the CCC, while the Leopards fall to 7-5 overall and 3-2 in the league.

Sophomore Musa Elsir added 10 points and six rebounds for the Golden Bears, who committed just 13 turnovers. Junior Ryan Mickiewicz chipped in nine points, six assists (against only one turnover) and two steals.

Corey Therriault and Derek Mayo each had 12 points and four assists for Wentworth, which had a 37-26 rebounding advantage but committed 22 turnovers. Dailon Wilson posted 10 rebounds, Therriault had eight and Mayo, six.

Western New England overcame a slow start in the first half to shoot a blistering 66.7 percent from the field in the second, making 14 of 21 attempts to outscore Wentworth 47-40 over the final 20 minutes.

Wentworth held a slim 23-20 lead at halftime as both teams shot less than 34 percent. Matching its biggest deficit of eight points in the first half, WNE scored the period's final 5 points on a lay-up by senior co-captain James Hock (4 points, 4 rebounds) and a trey from Mickiewicz.

The Golden Bears continued that momentum in the first couple minutes of the second half, taking its first lead of the contest at 30-27 on an Alston 3-pointer with 17 minutes and 32 seconds to go.

But the Leopards responded with a 15-4 run of its own to take a 42-34 lead at the 12:11 mark.

Then freshman Sinclair Lewis drained a pair of 3-pointers to start and close another WNE rally that eventually gave the Golden Bears a 47-45 lead at 9:13.

The teams traded points over the next few minutes before Alston converted a traditional 3-point play to put the Golden Bears up to stay, 51-49, with 6:08 left.