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Worcester State Holds off Men's Basketball

Worcester State Holds off Men's Basketball

WORCESTER, Mass. – Junior Tyler Dion scored a game-high 23 points to help the Worcester State University men's basketball team fend off Wentworth Institute of Technology, 72-67, on the first day of the 2018 Clark University Holiday Classic.

With the win the Lancers improve to 6-6 on the season while the Leopards fall to 2-8.

Wentworth held Worcester State to just 9.1 percent shooting from the field early in the first half and opened the game taking a 5-1 lead after sophomore Gavin Keough (Dunstable, Mass.) hit a three pointer and junior Matt Vartanian (Salem, N.H.) followed with a layup. The Leopards opened their lead to 9-3 after junior Stephen Azums (Hyde Park, Mass.) converted a layup with just under 13:00 remaining in the opening half before a layup from junior Shaun McCarthy (Oxford, Mass.) and a three pointer from sophomore Chris Cardoso (Jamaica Plain, Mass.) cut the lead to one.

Azums pushed the lead back to four after making a layup with 7:25 remaining, however, an 11-4 run gave the Lancers a 21-18 lead after Dion hit a shot from behind the arc. Sophomore Kyle Henseler (Coventry, R.I. ended the run with a layup coming with just under four minutes left but three pointers from Dion and McCarthy and a layup from junior Cal Howes (Maynard, Mass.) extended the lead to nine (29-20). Four points from Henseler and two from Azums cut the lead to three with 40 seconds left, however, Dion made it 32-26 at the break when he hit a three as time expired.

After McCarthy hit a layup 1:31 into the second half to extend the lead to eight, the Leopards used a 6-0 run to trim the lead to two (36-34). Sophomore Erik Bjorn (Holden, Mass.) gave Worcester State a 42-36 lead before Wentworth clawed its way back to within one after freshman Noah Bice (Woodacre, Calif.) scored five straight points. The Lancers brought the lead back to seven on a pair of occasions, including when Dion made a layup with 13:15 left, and took their largest lead of the half (11) after Bjorn made a layup with under nine minutes remaining.

The Black & Gold would not go away quietly, however, as they battled back to pull within a pair on two occasions, including when Keough made a layup with 4:08 remaining to make it 63-61. Dion and junior Will Watkins, Jr. (Southbridge, Mass.) each hit three pointers to make it a 69-61 game with 2:02 left, however, Azums brought the Leopards to within four late when he made a layup and hit two free throws. Worcester State hit three of four free throws down the stretch to close out the game.

In addition to his 23 points, Dion had five assists while Watkins, Jr., added 22 points. McCarthy finished with 12 points and six rebounds and Bjorn had a six-point, 11-rebound game.

Azums recorded a double-double to pace four players in double figures for Wentworth as he scored 20 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Henseler scored 16 points, Keough added 14, and Bice finished with 10.

Wentworth has a quick turnaround as the Leopards face the host Cougars Sunday morning at 10:00.

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