SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Junior guard Alex Sikorski (Rocky Hill, Conn.) scored a career-high 38 points to lead the Western New England University men's basketball team past Pine Manor College, 96-70, in the championship game of the Hampton Inn Golden Bear Tip-Off on Saturday at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.
Sikorski, who shot 14-of-21 from the field and 8-of-11 from three-point range, also finished with a game-high 11 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Senior guard Mike McGuire (Garden City, N.Y.) was the only other Golden Bear to score in double figures with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor, including 6-of-9 from long distance.
For Pine Manor, freshman guard Jalen Williams (Tariffville, Conn.) and junior center Sayvonn Houston (Brockton, Mass.) produced 15 points and six rebounds each.
Western New England opened up an early 17-10 advantage with the help of three consecutive triples from McGuire. The Golden Bears pushed their lead into double figures (27-17) for the first time on a layup by sophomore Antonio Brancato (Fairfield, Conn.) at the 11:42 mark of the first half, but the Gators answered with a 7-1 run to close the gap to four (28-24) midway through the period.
Leading by seven (34-27) with 8:17 left in the half, the Golden Bears put together a 10-0 run over the next two minutes to extend their advantage to 17 (44-27). Western New England would go on to hold a 53-40 edge at the break.
Pine Manor stayed within striking distance early in the second half, as the visitors trailed by 11 (60-49) after Houston completed a three-point play at the 16:41 mark.
Western New England started to pull away from there, scoring eight straight points with five from Sikorski. The Golden Bears pushed the margin over 20 (73-52) when senior Cole Eiber (Albertson, N.Y.) connected from beyond the arc with 13:29 to play.
Pine Manor was unable to recover, as the Gators got as close as 16 on a couple of occasions before Western New England put the game out of reach with a late 11-2 run.
• Western New England shot 50% from the field and 51.4% from three-point range.
• The Golden Bears outrebounded the Gators 40-29
• Sikorski was named the Tournament MVP after averaging 27.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game over the two contests.
Western New England (3-1) plays its fourth straight home game on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. against Westfield State. Pine Manor (1-3) returns home to host MIT on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.