Western New England Falters Late in 73-61 Loss to Nichols

Freshman Zach Tavitian recorded 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks in Western New England's 73-61 loss to Nichols on Saturday. (Photo by Chris Marion)
Freshman Zach Tavitian recorded 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks in Western New England's 73-61 loss to Nichols on Saturday. (Photo by Chris Marion)

Tavitian leads Golden Bears with 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (February 10, 2018) –
The Western New England University men's basketball team was held scoreless over the final five minutes of regulation in a 73-61 loss to Nichols College on Saturday afternoon in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action at the Alumni Healthful Living Center. 

Top Performers
• Freshman forward Zach Tavitian (Milford, Conn.) led the Golden Bears with a team-high 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, to go with six rebounds and three blocks.
• Sophomore guard Mike McGuire (Garden City, N.Y.) recorded ten points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
• Junior guard Mikey Pettway (Bridgeport, Conn.) finished with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals, while freshmen Alex Sikorski (Rocky Hill, Conn.) and EJ Day (Norwalk, Conn.) chipped in with nine and eight points off the bench, respectively.

• Junior guard Marcos Echevarria (Lynn, Mass.) powered the Nichols offense with a game-high 29 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field, 5-of-12 from three-point distance and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. Echevarria also tallied five rebounds and three assists in 39 minutes of action.
• Sophomore DeAnte Bruton (New London, Conn.) posted a double-double with 11 points, ten rebounds, four steals and three assists, while classmate Jerome Cunningham (Westbury, N.Y.) totaled 16 points, eight boards, two assists and one block.

Game Review
Leading 39-38 at halftime, the Bison extended their advantage to six (48-42) on a layup by Cunningham 2:18 into the second half. 

Western New England closed the gap to two (50-48) when McGuire drained a three-pointer at the 15:57 mark, but Nichols was able to restore its six-point advantage (54-48) following an Echevarria layup with 13:23 on the clock.

The Golden Bears stayed within striking distance and eventually cut their deficit to one (60-59) on a layup by Sikorski with 7:30 to play.

Western New England still trailed by just one (62-61) following a Day layup two minutes later, but they were never able to pull ahead.

Echevarria hit a three-pointer at the 4:51 mark, sparking an 11-0 Nichols run to end the contest as the Golden Bears missed their final seven shots and turned the ball over three times down the stretch.

Nichols raced out to a 16-6 lead over the first 6:25 of the first half, and the visitors led by the same margin (23-13) after Cunningham sank two free throws with 9:14 remaining in the period.

Western New England eventually pulled even at 34-34 on a Pettway jumper with 2:14 to play, but Nichols held a one-point edge at the break.

• Tavitian has scored in double figures in three straight games and 15 times overall this season.
• The Bison outrebounded the Golden Bears 40-28 and scored 14 second chance points.
• Western New England shot 40.3 percent (25-of-62) from the field, including just 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from three-point range.

Up Next
Western New England (10-13, 6-10 CCC) will be back in action on Tuesday night at Wentworth, while Nichols (20-3, 14-2 CCC) returns home to host Eastern Nazarene.