Golden Bears have Strong Rebounding Effort in 80-64 Loss to CCC Frontrunner Nichols College

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--The Western New England University men's basketball team had a strong rebounding effort against first-place Nichols College on Saturday, but a slow start to the second half for the Golden Bears spelled an 80-64 loss at the hands of the Bison at the Alumni Healthful Living Center. The visiting Bison improve to 16-5 overall and 12-2 in the CCC standings, while WNE falls to 6-14 on the season and 4-10 in the conference.

Western New England junior Musa Elsir led all scorers with 16 points, followed by sophomore Zack Askew with 11 points and senior Dennis Rinaldi had 10.

Sam Horning paced Nichols with 14 points and CCC-leading scorer Ryan Sheehan added 10, which was eight points below his scoring average.

The Golden Bears outworked the Bison on the glass by a 38 to 28 count, including a 16-4 advantage on the offensive end that yielded 13 second-chance points for WNE. Rinaldi and senior guard Ryan Mickiewicz each pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.

Mickiewicz rattled home a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 9 seconds left in the first half to give WNE a 31-30 lead at the intermission.

But Nichols began the second half on a 12-2 run for a 42-33 lead and the Bison never looked back after that. Horning started and ended the run--which occurred over a 2-minute, 7-second span--with a lay-in. Western New England missed three shots and committed four of its 21 turnovers in the first 3 minutes of the period and couldn't get back on track.

The Bison played a strong inside-outside game and got the ball to their big men and controlled the key constantly. This resulted in them outscoring the Golden Bears 30-26 in the paint. The Bison also scored 25 points off of the Golden Bears 21 giveaways.
 
Western New England shot 37.9 percent from the field on 22-for-58, while the Bison were 26-of-51 for 51 percent. Nichols recorded eight treys on 19 attempts and several mid-range jumpers as a result of kick-out passes (20 assists) to open shooters on the perimeter
 
The Golden Bears led in second-chance points, netting 13 in comparison to the Bison four.

Western New England returns to the court on Wednesday at Wentworth in a CCC contest.