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Hot Shooting Second Half Enables Men's Basketball to Rally Past Western New England

Hot Shooting Second Half Enables Men's Basketball to Rally Past Western New England

BOSTON, Mass. – Trailing by 16 points with 13:50 remaining in the second half, the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's basketball team outscored Western New England by a 32-13 margin over a span of 11:23 to erase the deficit and pick up an 89-81 win over the Golden Bears in Commonwealth Coast Conference action Saturday afternoon.

The Leopards' 52 point, second-half outburst was fueled by hot shooting from behind the three-point arc as the hosts connected on 7-of-11 long-range shots (63.6 percent) in the frame and shot 54.2 percent (13-for-24) overall from the floor over the final 20 minutes. Wentworth's 89 points are the most scored by the Black & Gold since December 29, 2015, when Wentworth was defeated by Clark, 99-94, in double overtime.

Five players scored in double figures for the Leopards, led by sophomores Gavin Keough (Dunstable, Mass.) and junior Stephen Azums (Hyde Park, Mass.). For Keough, his notched a career-high 20 points while Azums scored 18.

A fast start propelled Wentworth to a 9-0 lead in the first two and a half minutes of the game, which included three points from Azums and three pointers from senior Zach Bergeon (Litchfield, N.H.) and freshman Joseph Hecker (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.). Western New England responded with an 11-0 run and took an 11-9 lead on a sophomore Zachary Tavitian (Milford, Conn.) three pointer. Tavitian had five of the Golden Bears' 11 points during the run.

Back-to-back three pointers from freshman Noah Bice (Woodacre, Calif.) and sophomore Kyle Henseler (Coventry, R.I.) gave Wentworth the lead back, however, Western New England used an 18-7 run to take its largest lead of the half at 29-22 after freshman Antonio Brancato (Fairfield, Conn.) hit a three pointer. Wentworth bounced back, using a 9-0 run and took a 31-20 on a Henseler layup with 4:01 remaining.

Two ties ensued after Henseler had given the hosts the lead before a three from Bice put the Leopards on top, 35-32, and they would lead 37-34 at the break. Wentworth shot 70 percent (7-for-10) from three-point land during the first 20:00 of the contest.

Western New England opened the second half on a 26-7 run where the visitors took their largest lead of the contest at 60-44. Tavitian and senior Mikey Pettway (Bridgeport, Conn.) each had eight points during the run. A layup from Bice on the next possession was followed by a three pointer from Keough to cut the lead to 11. Western New England was only able to increase its lead to 12, which happened on four occasions before Keough drained a three with 9:48 remaining to make it a 67-58 game. Keough's three started an 18-6 run which saw Henseler hit a pair of free throws to give Wentworth a 74-73 lead and Bice and Azums each hit one free throw to extend the lead to three (76-73) with 2:27 remaining. Two free throws from junior Mike McGuire (Garden City, N.Y.) cut the lead to one before a three-point play from Bergeon started a 10-2 run which put the game out of reach.

Keough was 6-of-9 from the floor, including going 5-for-8 from behind the arc. In addition to his 18 points, Azums hauled down eight rebounds. Henseler (17 points, six assists) and Bice (13 points) each scored career highs while Bergeon added 13 points, including going 8-for-9 from the charity stripe. Wentworth had a 40-32 rebounding advantage.

Five players scored in double figures for Western New England as Tavitian and Pettway led the way with 19 points. Pettway also had a game-high seven assists. McGuire chipped in with 13 points while sophomore Alex Sikorski (Rocky Hill, Conn.) and Brancato scored 10 points apiece.

Wentworth (2-4, 1-1 CCC) is at the University of New England on Tuesday night. That same night, Western New England (2-6, 0-2) is at Gordon.

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