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Men's Basketball Edged in Season Opener

Men's Basketball Edged in Season Opener

WESTON, Mass. – Jordan Monts (Springfield, Mass.) connected on a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in regulation to tie the game, and a pair of Chris Leak Jr. (New Haven, Conn.) free throws with 17 seconds left in overtime helped propel the Regis College men's basketball team to a 64-62 victory over the Wentworth Institute of Technology on Friday night in Weston, Mass.

The Pride (1-0) advance to the Championship game of the 2015 Coaches vs. Cancer Greater Boston Shootout sponsored by Moe's and will take on Emerson College (1-0) at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Emerson defeated Emmanuel College (0-1), 76-64 in the second game of the night, and the Saints and Leopards (0-1) will face-off in the Consolation game at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Regis trailed by 11 entering the half and fell behind by as many as 12 in the game. It was a rough start to the season for both teams as they combined for 59 fouls and 47 turnovers in the contest, with the Pride shooting only 19-of-34 from the free throw line in the game.

The Leopards jumped out to an early 18-9 lead midway through the opening half as Kyle Romich (Groton, Mass.) connected on a layup. Jaiwon Martin (Coral Springs, Fla.) answered for the Pride on the next possession, but both teams struggled over the next three minutes of game play until a Jason Ganley (Northbridge, Mass.) three from the top of the key put Wentworth on top 21-11 with 5:03 to play.

Chris Keaton (Beverly, Mass.) connected on a triple of his own to cut the lead back to seven, but Matthew Dean (Gilford, N.H.) responded with another three for Wentworth as it stayed a 10-point game at 24-14. Leak Jr. would cut it to an eight point game with a layup, but that would be as close as Regis would get as the Wentworth lead got as large as 12 on another Romich jumper, and the Leopards took a 29-18 lead into the break.

The Pride came out firing to open the second half and a Sam Jean-Gilles (Melrose, Mass.) layup on the fast break would make it a 33-27 game and force a Wentworth timeout with 16:26 to play. A pair of Jeff Tagger Jr. (Brockton, Mass.) free throws followed by a Jamal Rene (Methuen, Mass.) three cut the deficit to 33-32 with 14:41 to play.

Romich answered with a three to go back on top by four, and the two teams entered a back-and-forth battle until a driving lefty-layup from Rene gave the Pride their first lead since the opening bucket of the game. Wentworth started to pull away and two Ganley free throws with 7:15 remaining gave the Leopards a 50-44 advantage. Ganley later kept it a six point game at 54-48 with a layup as the game entered the final five minutes.

Four-straight free throws from Jean-Gilles left the Pride trailing 54-52, and a Leak Jr. freebie at the 2:26 mark of the second half made it a one point game at 54-53. Ian Therriault (Auburn, Maine) drew a foul and sank both free throws to put the Leopards on top 56-53 with 1:48 remaining.

Both team had turnovers in the final 90 seconds of the game, none more crucial than an offensive foul call against the Leopards that gave the Pride the ball with only 40 seconds remaining. After a Regis timeout, the Pride setup a play with Martin catching on the left side of the floor. Martin drove right and dished to an open Monts at the top of the key, and the senior buried the triple to tie the game at 56-all.

Romich had a chance with a runner in the lane in the final seconds, but the shot clanged off the iron and the game spilled into overtime.

Both teams traded single free throws to open the extra frame, and a three-point play from Monts gave the Pride a 60-57 advantage. After a stop by the Pride defense, Adem Afonja (Staten Island, N.Y.) came barreling down the lane and flipped in a layup while being fouled to give the Pride a 62-57 lead with 2:30 remaining.

Wentworth chipped away as a pair of Romich free throws followed by a Dylan Reno (Franklin, Mass.) layup got the Leopards back to within one at 62-61 with 1:39 to play. Sam Knollmeyer (Hampton, N.H.) earned a trip to the charity stripe with a chance to take the lead, but could only connect on 1-of-2 free throws as the game was tied at 62-62 with 1:10 to play.

After a Regis timeout, the Pride had a couple of chances to go ahead as offensive rebounds from Afonja and Tagger Jr. kept the Pride possession alive. Regis called its final timeout, and out of the break, Tagger Jr. drove from the top of the key and slipped a pass to Leak Jr., where he was fouled going up for a shot. The junior calmly stepped to the line and buried both freebies to give the Pride a 64-62 lead with 17 seconds remaining.

The Leopards went to Romich on their final possession, and the senior got off a shot that caromed off the rim. Romich got his own rebound, but his tip-in attempt was swatted away by Monts. With two seconds remaining, Wentworth got a good look in front of the basket, but the shot would not drop as the Pride stole a 64-62 win in their season opener.

Tagger Jr. led the Pride with 16 points to go with seven rebounds, four assists, and five steals. Monts joined him in double-figures with 11 points and five rebounds, while Leak Jr. posted 12 points and nine rebounds. Jaiwon Martin chipped in four points, three assists, and three steals off the bench. Hector Heredia (Lawrence, Mass.) finished with a game-high six assists to go with six rebounds.

Wentworth was paced by a career-high 23 points and eight rebounds from Romich. Ganley added a career-high 19 points and six rebounds, while Therriault led all players with 10 rebounds on the night. Romich also added four assists and a pair of steals.

(Recap Courtesy of Regis College)