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Men's Basketball Tames Bison

Men's Basketball Tames Bison

BOSTON, Mass. – Freshman Matt Vartanian (Salem, N.H.) scored 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting and also grabbed 10 rebounds to help four players score in double figures as the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's basketball team won its fourth straight game with a 71-55 victory over Nichols in Commonwealth Coast Conference action at Tansey Gymnasium.

The Leopards, who snapped a seven-game series losing streak and won for the first time against the Bison since Feb. 19, 2013, inch closer to the .500 mark as they improve to 8-9 overall and are 6-4 in CCC play. The Bison fall to 12-5 (7-3). Wentworth held Nichols to 38 points below their season scoring average.

The teams traded points for nearly the first four minutes of the contest before a quick, 6-0 spurt gave Wentworth a 12-6 lead. Junior Jason Ganley (Northbridge, Mass.), junior Sam Knollmeyer (Hampton, N.H.), and freshman Stephen Azums (Hyde Park, Mass.) accounted for the six points. Wentworth hit its first eight shots of the game and would take a 24-12 lead on an Azums basket with 9:35 left in the half.

Senior Devin Stallings (Waterbury, Conn.) brought the lead down to single digits (24-16) on a tip-in with 8:29 left, however a 14-4 run, capped off by a jumper from Azums gave the hosts their largest lead of the game, 38-20, with 3:08 remaining. Azums' basket would be the last Leopard points of the half as the Bison scored the final seven points of the half, capped off by a freshman DeAnte Burton (New London, Conn.) three with four seconds left to make it 38-27 at the break. Wentworth shot 58.6 percent from the floor in the first half while holding Nichols to 38.7 percent.

Nichols cut the lead to nine on three occasions early in the second half, including twice by Bruton whose layup with 17:01 left made it 42-33. Senior Dan DeVaux (Wethersfield, Conn.) quickly responded with seven straight points to extend the lead to 16.

A three pointer from sophomore Marcos Echeavarria (Lynn, Mass.) with 11:27 left cut the lead to 12, however that would be as close as Nichols would come as Wentworth matched its largest lead of the game of 18 five times, including when Ganley made a layup with 1:13 remaining.

In addition to Vartanian's 21 points, Azums had 13 points – on 4-of-5 shooting – to go along with nine rebounds, while Ganley and junior Cesar Fulcar (Watertown, Mass.) scored 10 points apiece. Wentworth held the Bison to 31 percent shooting in the second half and 35 percent for the game while dominating the boards, 47-27.

Bruton scored 22 points in a losing effort while freshman Jerome Cunningham (Westbury, N.Y.) had 10 points and nine rebounds.

Both teams are in action on Wednesday night as Wentworth is at the University of New England and Nichols is at Roger Williams.