Men’s Basketball Wins Thriller over Nichols, 96-80

Zachary Tavitian scored 26 points in a 96-80 win over Nichols. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)
Zachary Tavitian scored 26 points in a 96-80 win over Nichols. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (January 15, 2020) – The Western New England University men's basketball beat top-ranked Nichols by a score of 96-80 on Wednesday evening at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.

Top Performers
The Golden Bears were led by junior forward Zachary Tavitian (Milford, Conn.), who grabbed a double-double with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Senior guard Tim Reilly (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) added 21 points. Junior guard Alex Sikorski (Rocky Hill, Conn.) scored 18 points for Western New England.

The Bison were led by senior guard DeAnte Bruton (New London, Conn.) who led all scorers with 31 points. During tonight's game, Bruton surpassed 2,000 career points.

Game Review
The Bison started the game off well, taking an 11-6 lead at the 15:59 mark when sophomore Jason O'Regan (Charlton, Mass.) made a 3-pointer. A layup by Reilly two minutes later gave the Golden Bears a 13-11 lead, capping off a 7-0 run.

A layup by Bruton with 7:39 remaining in the half pushed the lead back to five for the Bison, taking a 27-22 lead. Both team continued trading baskets over the remainder of the half, trading off leads as well. The Golden Bears had a 42-41 lead with just under five seconds remaining in the half, just enough to get another shot off. Senior guard Nick DeGennaro (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) made a contested long-range 3-pointer as time expired to give the Golden Bears a 45-41 lead going into halftime.

Western New England went on a 12-4 run to begin the second half, taking a 57-45 lead when Tavitian made a 3-pointer. After an immediate timeout by the Bison, they went on a run of their own, going on a 15-5 run to cut the lead down to two, with the Golden Bears still holding a 62-60. 

The Golden Bears continued to push ahead, extending the lead back to 10. A layup by junior Matt Morrow (Leicester, Mass.) made the score 75-67 in favor of the Golden Bears with 7:36 remaining in the game. Western New England went on a 16-0 run over the course of the next four minutes to take a 91-67 lead.

Western New England held strong over the final minutes of the game, finishing with a 96-80 victory. Tavitian shot 7-9 from the field in the second half, scoring 20 of his 26 points.

Notes
• Western New England is now 5-1 in CCC play this season, sitting in a 3-way tie for first place.
• Western New England has won four straight games.

Up Next
Western New England (10-5) travels to U. of New England on Saturday afternoon. Nichols (10-5) returns home to face Curry on Saturday afternoon.