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Men's Basketball Holds Off Nichols; Advances to CCC Semis

Men's Basketball Holds Off Nichols; Advances to CCC Semis

BOSTON, Mass. – Senior Colin Johnson (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) scored a game-high 24 points and classmate Corey Therriault (Auburn, Maine) scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half as the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's basketball team held off Nichols, 73-69, in a Commonwealth Coast Conference quarterfinal round contest.

The opening four minutes would see a pair of ties and three lead changes, with the third coming on a Johnson 3-pointer that gave the hosts a 12-10 lead. Less than two minutes later Johnson would again connect from downtown to extend the lead to five, and, after the Bison would cut the lead to one, six straight Leopard points would give the Black & Gold a 23-16 lead with 11:23 left.

Wentworth extended its lead to eight on two occasions, including when Johnson converted a layup with 7:13 left. However, that would be the last field goal the Leopards would score in the first half as a 15-3 Bison run gave Nichols a 36-32 lead on a senior Justin Kuntz (Wallingford, Conn.) 3-pointer with 2:37 left. Neither team would score over the final 2:37 of the half and Nichols clung to the four-point margin at the break.

Nichols scored the first six points of the second half, with junior Ryan Sheehan (North Attleboro, Mass.) hitting a layup to open the half, followed by four straight points from freshman Irving Eggleston (East Lyme, Conn.).

The Bison led by nine (47-38) with 15:01 left when Kuntz drained a three, however Wentworth countered with a 13-0 run over the next 4:35, keyed by eight points from Therriault, and took a 51-47 lead on a Johnson basket with 10:26 left.

A sophomore Matt Langadas (Casco, Maine) layup and 3-pointer from Eggleston gave the visitors a 52-51 lead with 9:02 left before sophomore Nico Donato (Glastonbury, Conn.) hit a jumper and senior Dailon Wilson (Houston, Texas) drained a three to give Wentworth a 56-52 lead with 7:11 left.

Wentworth led by as many as 11 twice, including after Johnson hit two free throws with 47 seconds left. However, Eggleston buried a 3-pointer, and, after a Leopard turnover, hit another from behind the arc to cut the lead to five.

Junior Derek Mayo (Casco, Maine) hit one of two free throws to push the lead back to six before Langadas' jumper with 15 seconds left made it a 70-66 game. Mayo hit two free throws after being fouled on the inbound pass to bring the lead to six before Langadas' three-point play made it a 72-69 game with nine seconds left. Johnson hit one of two free throws and the Bison missed a 3-point attempt with three seconds left to end the game.

Johnson was 8-for-18 from the floor, while Therriault was 5-for-10 and had three steals. Both players hit three shots from behind the arc. Mayo had nine points, eight rebounds, and six assists, while sophomore John-Michael Fragnoli (Scotia, N.Y.) had nine rebounds and two blocks. The Leopards, who had a 41-30 rebounding edge, converted 14 offensive rebounds into 22 second chance points.

Eggleston led the Bison with 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting while Kuntz (16 points, six assists) and Langadas (10 points also scored in double figures. Sophomore Joe Gallant (Salem, N.H.) had a team-high eight rebounds.

With the win Wentworth snaps a three-game losing streak and improves to 16-10. The Leopards advance, for the fourth straight season, to the CCC semifinals where they will travel to second-seeded Gordon. The Fighting Scots were an 81-59 winner over Roger Williams. Nichols sees its season come to an end with a 13-13 mark.