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Men's Basketball Suffers First League Loss

Men's Basketball Suffers First League Loss

BRISTOL, R.I. – Freshman Conor O'Brien (Sharon, Mass.) scored a game-high 14 points to help the Roger Williams men's basketball team defeat Wentworth Institute of Technology, 52-47, in Commonwealth Coast Conference action Saturday afternoon.

With the win the Hawks snap a three-game losing streak and improve to 5-8 overall (3-3 CCC) while the Leopards were handed their first conference loss of the season (4-1) and see their overall record slip to 6-6.

The Leopards scored the first four points of the contest as seniors John-Michael Fragnoli (Schenectady, N.Y.) and Nico Donato (Glastobury, Conn.) gave the visitors a 4-0 lead within the first 41 seconds of the contest. Roger Williams would tie the game twice, including at 9-all when sophomore Josh Syska (Peabody, Mass.) hit a jumper with 15::44 to play in the half.

Senior Ray Bessette (Dedham, Maine) hit a jumper which started three straight baskets from Wentworth, which held the Hawks scoreless for nearly six minutes.

Wentworth upped its lead to eight (21-13) when freshman Cesar Fulcar (Watertown, Mass.) hit a 3-pointer with 7:06 remaining before Roger Williams trimmed the lead to three on a pair of junior Leonardo Atkinson (Nantucket, Mass.) free throws with 3:44 left. The Leopards responded with five straight as junior Tim Juitt (Wellesley, Mass.) hit a jumper and freshman Sam Knollmeyer (Hampton, N.H.) drained a three. O'Brien hit a layup with 11 ticks left to make it a 26-20 game at the half.

Fragnoli opened the second half with a basket to put Wentworth up by eight before senior Ryan Palumbo (Warwick, R.I.) made a layup and Syska hit a trifecta to cut the lead to three (30-27). The Leopards went on an 8-0 run to take a 38-27 lead with 10:24 left, with Fulcar scoring five of the eight points.

A 10-2 run, capped off by a freshman Jaylen Jennings (Norwalk, Conn.) 3-pointer cut the lead to 40-37 with 7:54 left before Fragnoli answered with a jumper to make it a five-point game. However, Roger Williams went on an 8-0 run and took their first lead with 4:40 left on an O'Brien layup.

Donato answered with a layup, but that would be the only points Wentworth would score for the next 2:47 as the Hawks used a Syska 3-pointer and four free throws to make it 52-44 with 23 seconds left. Fulcar hit a three with 14 seconds left to make the final deficit five.

O'Brien was 6-for-13 from the floor, en route to his 13-point day. Syska scored 12 of 5-of-8 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and Palumbo scored eight points.

Fulcar led the Leopards with 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including going 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Fragnoli scored 10 points, Donato had seven points, five rebounds, and three assists, and junior Ian Therriault (Auburn, Maine) tied for a game-high eight rebounds. Wentworth held a 38-36 advantage on the glass.

Roger Williams is at Curry on Thursday while Wentworth is at Eastern Nazarene on Tuesday.