No. 24 Nichols Holds off Western New England, 82-63

Zach Tavitian posted his first double-double of the season (11 points, 10 rebounds) in Western New England's 82-63 loss to Nichols on Wednesday. (Photo by Chris Marion)
Zach Tavitian posted his first double-double of the season (11 points, 10 rebounds) in Western New England's 82-63 loss to Nichols on Wednesday. (Photo by Chris Marion)

Pettway moves into fifth place on program's all-time scoring list

DUDLEY, Mass. (January 30, 2019) – The No. 24 nationally ranked Nichols College men's basketball team pulled away in the second half to claim an 82-63 victory over Western New England University on Wednesday night in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action at the Nichols Athletic Center.

Top Performers
Senior guard Mikey Pettway (Bridgeport, Conn.) was Western New England's top scorer, finishing with 13 points and four rebounds.

Sophomore forward Zachary Tavitian (Milford, Conn.) posted his first double-double of the season with 11 points and ten rebounds, while freshmen Kenny Flynn (Dudley, Mass.) and Antonio Brancato (Fairfield, Conn.) contributed eight points each off the bench.

Nichols was led by junior guard Deante Bruton (New London, Conn.), who scored a game-high 20 points to go with four rebounds, four assists and three steals.  

Sophomore forward Matt Morrow (Leicester, Mass.) registered a double-double with 14 points and 15 boards, while freshman forward Jaekwon Spencer (Bristol, Conn.) chipped in with 14 points and five rebounds off the bench.

Game Review
Nichols was in control early, as the Bison opened the contest with an 11-0 run before Tavitian scored six straight points for the Golden Bears.

After a Bruton layup gave Nichols an 18-11 advantage at the 11:51 mark, Western New England put together a 6-0 run with four points from Flynn to close the gap to one (18-17).

Western New England stayed within striking distance for the remainder of the half, tying the contest 29-29 on a layup by Brancato with 2:28 on the clock, but the Bison scored the final four points of the frame to take a 36-32 lead at the break.

The Golden Bears pulled ahead for the first time (37-36) when junior Mike McGuire (Garden City, N.Y.) connected from beyond the arc 2:27 into the second half.

Western New England went up three (41-38) on a Pettway layup at the 16:07 mark, and the Golden Bears still led by two (44-42) when Pettway knocked down a corner three-pointer less than a minute later.

Nichols answered with a 9-0 run that was fueled by a pair of Marcos Echevarria (Lynn, Mass.) triples, however, to open up a 52-44 advantage and force a Western New England timeout.

The Golden Bears got as close as four (54-50) after junior Tim Reilly (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) sank a pair of free throws with 11:47 left in the contest, but the Bison responded with a 6-0 spurt to push their lead back to ten.

Nichols began to pull away after that point, as the home team claimed a 12-point advantage (65-53) on a Bruton three-pointer with 8:25 to play, before eventually going up 17 (73-56) following consecutive layups by Spencer with 4:46 remaining. The Bison led by as much as 20 late in regulation before posting a 19-point win.

Notes
• Western New England shot just 19 percent (4-of-21) from three-point distance.
• The Golden Bears committed 22 turnovers, their second highest total this season.
• With his 13-point effort, Pettway moved into fifth place on Western New England's all-time scoring list.

Up Next
Western New England (8-13, 5-7 CCC) returns home on Saturday to host Curry, while Nichols (19-2, 11-1 CCC) is off until next Tuesday, when the Bison welcome Roger Williams to Dudley.