Men's Basketball Cruises to Win in Conference Opener

Men's Basketball Cruises to Win in Conference Opener

NEWPORT, R.I. – Four players scored in double figures, including senior Ray Bessette (Dedham, Maine) who had a team-high 14 points and a solid defensive effort helped to hold Salve Regina to 25 percent shooting from the floor as the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's basketball team picked up its second straight win with a 63-44 win over the Seahawks in the Commonwealth Coast Conference opener for both squads.

With the win the Leopards improve to 2-4 (1-0 CCC) while the Seahawks drop their second straight to stand at 3-4 (0-1).

After freshman Adam Quinlan (East Walpole, Mass.) hit two free throws to put the hosts on the board with a pair of free throws 2:23 into the game, Wentworth went on a 9-0 run, capped off by a freshman Cesar Fulcar (Watertown, Mass.) 3-pointer, and led 9-2. Chris O'Keefe gave the Seahawks their first field goal of the night with 13:30 left, which started a 6-0 spurt for Salve Regina and closed the gap to 9-8 with 10:20 left.

Junior Tim Juitt (Wellesley, Mass.) hit one of two free throws before a pair of senior Eric MacKinnon (South Easton, Mass.) free throws knotted the game at 12-all.

On the next possession, Juitt buried a jumper which would begin a 7-0 spurt, capped off by a Bessette layup with 9:22 remaining. O'Keefe hit two free throws before Bessette hit a 3-pointer to increase the lead to 20-12 with 8:42 remaining.

A 3-pointer from Juitt and basket from freshman Sam Knollmeyer (Hampton, N.H.) gave Wentworth a 27-15 lead before four straight free throws from freshman Bryce Boggs (Hyde Park, Mass.) brought the lead to single digits with 4:08 left in the half.

Fulcar scored four straight points, giving the Leopards a 31-20 lead with 2:16 left before graduate student Scott St. Lawrence (Litchfield, N.H.) hit two free throws with 1:40 left to close out the first half scoring. Over the first 20:00, Wentworth shot 40 percent from the floor, while holding the hosts to 22.7 percent.

Senior Nico Donato (Glastonbury, Conn.) opened the second half by scoring five straight points to make it a 14-point (36-22) contest. However, Boggs quickly responded with a 3-pointer of his own to cut the deficit to 11. Senior John-Michael Fragnoli (Scotia, N.Y.) and Donato accounted for Wentworth's next five points which began a 12-4 run and would give the Black & Gold a 48-29 lead after a junior Ian Therrault (Auburn, Maine) basket with 12:43 remaining.

The Seahawks scored four straight points, however Bessette answered with five consecutive points of his own to give Wentworth a 20-point (53-33) lead with 10:42 left. Salve Regina would get no closer than 16 over the remainder of the contest.

In addition to his 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting, Bessette grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists. Donato had 11 points, while Fulcar and Juitt added 10 apiece. Fulcar also had six rebounds. As a team, the Leopards shot 46.6 percent from the floor and held a slight edge on the glass, 42-38.

Boggs was the lone Seahawk to score in double digits, scoring 16 points while grabbing seven rebounds. Quinlan scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Wentworth looks to extend its win streak to three when the Leopards host Gordon on Saturday. Salve Regina is at Nichols that same day.