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Men's Basketball Falls in Regular-Season Finale

Men's Basketball Falls in Regular-Season Finale

DUDLEY, Mass. – Junior Gustave Koumare (Harlem, N.Y.) led a trio of players in double figures to help the Nichols College men's basketball team secure its second straight Commonwealth Coast Conference regular-season title as the Bison defeated Wentworth, 66-55, in the regular-season finale for both squads.

With the win Nichols improves to 20-5 overall and 17-1 in league play. The Bison will face the league's number eight seed in a quarterfinal round game on Tuesday. The Leopards end the regular season with a 12-13 mark (10-8 CCC) and will be the tournament's number four seed. Wentworth will host fifth-seeded Gordon on Tuesday in a quarterfinal contest.

The Leopards opened the contest by scoring the first six points and lead 6-0 after senior Nico Donato (Glastonbury, Conn.) hit a layup with 17:09 left in the half. Nichols scored the next six – capped off by a Koumare layup – to tie the game 1:44 later. Wentworth countered with a 6-1 spurt and led 12-7 and would extend its lead to 17-10 on a freshman Jason Ganley (Northbridge, Mass.) trifecta with 11:14 left.

A 16-2 Nichols run gave the hosts a 26-19 lead with 3:45 left after a junior Christian Horton (Rutland, Mass.) basket. Wentworth trimmed the lead to two on two occasions, including when senior Ray Bessette (Dedham, Maine) hit two free throws with 58 seconds left, however a Koumare layup with 17 seconds left put the hosts ahead by four (32-28) at the break.

Nichols took a 38-32 lead with 16:52 left on a senior Matt Langadas (Sebago, Maine) basket, however Wentworth used an 8-0 run to take a 40-38 lead with 13:49 left after a Bessette layup. Senior John-Michael Fragnoli (Schenectady, N.Y.) had four points during the run.

The teams battled back and forth for the next four minutes with Fragnoli tying the game at 46-all on a jumper with 9:25 remaining. Nichols broke the game open with a 13-0 run and took a 66-53 lead on a three-pointer from sophomore Jared Thompson (Scituate, R.I.) with 2:07 left. On the next possession, Fragnoli hit a layup to cut the lead to 11, but Wentworth would get no closer as neither team scored over the final 1:55 of the contest.

Koumare added six steals to go along with his 19 points while Langadas (17 points) and Thompson (14 points) also scored in double figures for the Bison. Senior Joe Gallant (Salem, N.H.) had a game-high 12 rebounds.

Fragnoli led all scorers with 21 points to go along with seven rebounds and a pair of blocks. Ganley scored 10 points off the bench with Donato adding eight. Junior Ian Therriault (Auburn, Maine) also grabbed seven rebounds and had three steals and freshman Cesar Fulcar (Watertown, Mass.) had four assists.