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Azums' Last Second Free Throw Lifts Men's Basketball Past Roger Williams

Azums' Last Second Free Throw Lifts Men's Basketball Past Roger Williams

BRISTOL, R.I. – Freshman Stephen Azums (Hyde Park, Mass.) hit one of two free throws with one second left to snap a 73-73 tie and lift the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's basketball team to a 74-73 win over Roger Williams in the regular-season finale for both squads. Wentworth had erased an eight-point deficit late in the contest to put itself in a position to win in Bristol for the first time since Jan. 12, 2013.

With the win the Leopards improve to 13-12 overall and complete Commonwealth Coast Conference play with an 11-7 mark. Wentworth will be the number five seed in the upcoming CCC Tournament and will travel to fourth-seeded Gordon on Tuesday for a quarterfinal round contest. The Hawks sit at 19-6 overall and finish as the number three seed in the league with a 13-5 record. Roger Williams will host sixth-seeded Eastern Nazarene in a quarterfinal, also on Tuesday.

The first half of play was punctuated by three ties and four lead changes. Neither team led by more than six points at any point in the period. Roger Williams held the advantage for most of the half, breaking an 18-all tie with 8:32 left in the half and holding Wentworth off for the remainder of the period. Roger Williams would go into halftime with a slim 32-30 lead.

Wentworth managed to grab the lead briefly (38-35) in the second half on a three-pointer by Dan DeVaux (Wethersfield, Conn.) six minutes into the period. Nick Marini (Loudonville, N.Y.) answered with a three-point play to tie the game. His play would spark an 11-0 run to put RWU up by eight before Wentworth scored eight straight of its own to knot the game back at 48 with just over nine minutes left.

Roger Williams managed to build the lead back up to eight (61-53) with just under six minutes left, but Wentworth utilized hot shooting from behind the arc and the field to mount the comeback. The Leopards hit five of their six attempts from three-point range in the final six minutes to climb their way back in the game.

One of the key threes came from Jason Ganley (Northbridge, Mass.) in the final minute to break a 69-all tie and put Wentworth back up. Josh Syska (Peabody, Mass.) scored the final four points for Roger Williams, beginning with a pair of free throws and following that with an and-one layup to tie the game at 73 with 16.2 seconds left.

After a missed free throw, Wentworth came down the other end and DeVaux put up a three to attempt to give the Leopards the lead. He would miss but Azums would clean up the board and get fouled on the put back with one second left. Azums hit the go-ahead free throw on his first attempt and miss the second, forcing a desperation full court heave by the Hawks that fell short, giving Wentworth the road win.

DeVaux led the Leopards with 24 points on eight three-pointers. Ganley added 19 points and three assists, while Azums notched a double-double off the bench with 11 points and 13 boards.

Sophomore Austin Coene (Tyngsborough, Mass.) finished with 20 points off the bench for Roger Williams. Syska added 11 points and eight rebounds, while Marini finished with nine points and three assists.

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