SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Western New England University men's basketball team defeated Becker College 79-67 in the Golden Bears' home opener on Tuesday night in non-conference action at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.
The Golden Bears were led by senior guard Mike McGuire (Garden City, N.Y.), who scored a game-high 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field, including a 5-for-11 effort from three-point distance. Junior guard Alex Sikorski (Rocky Hill, Conn.) fell just short of a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds, while junior forward Zachary Tavitian (Milford, Conn.) finished with ten points and three boards.
Becker junior forward Mateus Ribeiro (Sao Paolo, Brazil) posted his second consecutive double with 19 points and ten rebounds for the Hawks. Junior forward Jamir Carr (Philadelphia, Pa.) added 13 points and six boards, while freshman forward Terrance Edwards (New Haven, Conn.) chipped in with 14 points and three rebounds off the bench.
Becker scored the opening basket of the contest, but that would be the Hawks' only lead of the night as Western New England put together a 15-0 run over the next four minutes with seven points from Sikorski and six from McGuire.
The visitors were able to chip away at their deficit and pull to within seven (26-19) following a Carr three-point play with nine minutes left in the half.
Western New England responded with consecutive triples from Tavitian and Sikorski, however, pushing the lead back into double figures.
After the Hawks got as close as six (34-28) at the conclusion of a 7-0 Becker run with 5:50 on the clock, the Golden Bears closed out the half with a 12-1 run to extend their advantage to 17 (46-29) at the break.
Becker was able to pull to within nine on a couple of occasions early in the second half, but Western New England never let its lead fall below that margin, eventually going up by as much as 20 (75-55) after McGuire connected from beyond the arc with 4:27 remaining in the contest.
The Hawks made one final push, utilizing an 11-0 surge to again get to within nine points (75-66) following a pair of Marcus Goss (Hartford, Conn.) free throws with 1:10 to play, but it wasn't enough as the Golden Bears cruised to the 12-point triumph.
• Western New England scored 22 points off Becker's 16 turnovers.
• The Golden Bears shot 52.9 percent from the field in the first half and 45.2 percent overall.
Western New England (1-1) returns to action on Friday night, when the Golden Bears host MCLA at 8 p.m. Becker (1-1) plays McDaniel College on Friday night at the Buffalo Wild Wings Classic.