Seniors Kevin Wilkes, 14 points, and Dennis Rinaldi, 13, Lead Golden Bears at Nichols

DUDLEY, Mass.--Seniors Kevin Wilkes and Dennis Rinaldi scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, but Western New England found itself on the short end of a 60-51 decision to Nichols in Commonwealth Coast Conference men's basketball action on Thursday at the Bison Athletics Center. The visiting Golden Bears fall to 2-9 overall and 0-5 in the CCC, while the Bison up their record to 7-4 and 4-1 to gain a share of first place in the conference.

Ryan Sheehan tallied 18 points for the Bison to lead all scorers, and Gustave Koumare knocked down all four of his field goal attempts to finish with 11 points, plus five rebounds and three steals. Joe Gallant pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds to go along with six points, three assists and two steals.

WNE outrebounded the Bison 41-37 behind Rinaldi's game-tying 12 rebounds to complete his team-leading fourth double-double.

The Golden Bears, however, struggled from both the charity stripe (10-of-22; 46 percent) and behind the three-point arc (1-of-13; 8 percent).

Nichols led by as many as 13 points in the first half en route to a 33-24 halftime lead.

The Bison extended their lead to as many as 14 on three different occasions through the first 12-plus minutes of the second half - the last of which came on a jumper by Sheehan with 8 minutes and 24 seconds remaining. A three-point play by junior Musa Elsir (9 points, 9 rebounds) cut the Golden Bears deficit to eight (50-42), but Sheehan answered with a trey to put Nichols back up by 12.

Back-to-back layups from Elsir and Rinaldi with less than two minutes remaining made it a seven-point game at 55-48, but a free throw from Sheehan and two more from Koumare sealed the win.

Nichols rattled in 13 of its 17 free throw attempts (77 percent) and canned seven triples - including three from Sheehan. Both teams protected the ball well as Nichols turned the ball over only 10 times while the Golden Bears committed just nine turnovers.

Western New England returns to CCC competition on Saturday when it hosts Eastern Nazarene at the Alumni Healthful Living Center, tipping off at 3 p.m.

(Editor's note: Nichols College Sports Information contributed to this game recap.)