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Men's Basketball Opens 2015 With Win at Lesley

Men's Basketball Opens 2015 With Win at Lesley

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior John-Michael Fragnoli (Schenectady, N.Y.) poured in a career high 24 points to help the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's basketball team start 2015 in the win column as the Leopards defeated Lesley, 65-60, in non-conference action Saturday afternoon.

After having their four-game win streak snapped by Boston University on Monday night, the Leopards even their record at 5-5. The Lynx dropped their second straight to sit at 1-7.

Lesley scored the opening basket 35 seconds into the contest and it was nearly a minute later before Fragnoli would even the score. Freshman Sam Knollmeyer (Hampton, N.H.) drained a three to give Wentworth its first lead with 17:42 to play.

Senior Ray Bessette (Dedham, Maine) hit one of two free throws with 15:33 left in the half to give the Leopards a 6-4 lead, however the Lynx responded with a 10-0 run and took a 14-6 lead on a pair of senior Justin Rosa (East Brunswick, N.J.) free throws. Rose had seven of his team's 10 points during the run.

Wentworth closed the gap to four (17-13) when sophomore Dan DeVaux (Wethersfield, Conn.) hit a 3-pointer with 8:39 remaining but found itself trailing by eight after Lesley scored six of the next eight points.

Fragnoli and junior Kyle Romich (Groton, Mass.) each hit two free throws and Bessette drained a trifecta to make it a one-point (23-22) contest with 3:13 left and Fragnoli continued the run with a basket that gave the Leopards a 24-23 lead with 1:29 left. Freshman Cesar Fulcar (Watertown, Mass.) extended the lead with one of two free throws with a minute remaining.

Rosa hit two free throws to even the contest at 25-all with 55 seconds remaining before Fulcar drained a three to give Wentworth a 28-25 lead. However, the Lynx would score the final four points of the half – a junior Chris Barletta (Valrico, Fla.) basket and two free throws from Rosa – to take a 29-28 lead into the locker room.

Senior Matt Gianoni (Berlin, Conn.) hit a jumper on the hosts' first possession to extend the run to seven points and the Lynx lead to three. Wentworth responded with a 14-1 run, taking the lead for good, 42-32, with 15:46 to play. Fragnoli had six points during the run with Fulcar and junior Ian Therriault (Auburn, Maine) each hitting 3-pointers and Knollmeyer adding a basket of his own.

The Leopards would lead by as many as 15 on three occasions, including after Fragnoli scored with 2:37 remaining. Lesley would use a 13-3 run to close out the game, however would get no closer.

Fragnoli was 9-for-16 from the floor in leading all scorers and besting his career high by one point while also grabbing eight rebounds. Fulcar added 12 points, three assists, and four steals, and Knollmeyer had nine points and three assists. Therriault finished with a game-high nine rebounds. Wentworth held a 41-35 rebounding advantage and scored 18 points off 13 Lynx turnovers.

Rosa led Lesley with 19 points while senior Nikalus Oliver (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Barletta had 11 and 10, respectively.

Wentworth resumes Commonwealth Coast Conference play on Tuesday when the Leopards host the University of New England at 7:30 p.m. That same day, Lesley is at Southern Vermont in a New England Collegiate Conference matchup.