Golden Bears Unable to Complete Comeback in 87-85, CCC-Opening Loss to Roger Williams

Freshman Antonio Brancato scored a season-high nine points in Western New England's 87-85 loss to Roger Williams on Wednesday. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)
Freshman Antonio Brancato scored a season-high nine points in Western New England's 87-85 loss to Roger Williams on Wednesday. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)

Pettway paces WNE with game-high 29 points

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (November 28, 2018) – The Western New England University men's basketball team's second half rally came up just short as the Golden Bears fell to Roger Williams University, 87-85, in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) opener for both teams on Wednesday evening at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.

Top Performers
Senior guard Mikey Pettway (Bridgeport, Conn.) powered the Golden Bears with a game-high 29 points, three rebounds and three assists to go with one steal and one block.

Sophomore guard Alex Sikorski (Rocky Hill, Conn.) produced a season-high 19 points, while sophomore forward Zachary Tavitian (Milford, Conn.) chipped in with ten points, six boards and two assists.

Roger Williams' balanced offense was fueled by senior guard Jake Heaton (Shelton, Conn.), who connected on 4-of-5 three-pointers and all seven of his free throw attempts en route to a team-high 19 points in 27 minutes off the bench.

Three other Hawks scored in double figures, including sophomore guard Bryan Donovan (Gainesville, Fla.), who finished with 16 points, four rebounds, two steals and one assist.

Game Review
Western New England held a 17-12 lead following a jumper by Pettway 6:15 into the contest, before the Hawks got hot from long range and knocked down five three-pointers during a three-minute span to pull ahead 27-19 midway through the half.

Roger Williams continued to roll offensively and stretched its lead as high as 21 (45-24) with four minutes to play in the period.

Trailing by 16 (51-35) at the break, the Golden Bears fought their way back into the contest with a 14-2 run that closed the gap to four (53-49) after Pettway sank two free throws 5:25 into the second half.

Roger Williams never relinquished its lead, however, and the Hawks eventually extended their advantage back to 12 (75-63) on a Rich Pugliese (Middlebury, Conn.) trey with just under ten minutes remaining.

Still facing a nine-point deficit (83-74) with 3:20 to play, the Golden Bears made one final push.

A pair of late Sikorski three-pointers got Western New England within one (85-84), but Donovan went 2-for-2 at the free throw line with six seconds on the clock to make it a three-point game.

Pettway was fouled and made his first free throw before intentionally missing the second to give the Golden Bears an opportunity to tie the contest, but the Hawks grabbed the rebound to secure the win.

Notes
• Roger Williams made 10-of-18 (55.6%) three-pointers in the first half, while the Golden Bears connected on just 2-of-16 (12.5%) long range attempts over the first 20 minutes of play.
• Western New England committed just four turnovers all game, while scoring 24 points off 14 Roger Williams turnovers.
• The Hawks shot 87.1 percent (27-of-31) from the free throw line.

Up Next
Both teams will be back in action on Saturday, as Western New England (2-4, 0-1 CCC) travels to Boston to play Wentworth and Roger Williams (3-4, 1-0 CCC) returns home to take on UNE.