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Strong Second Half Pushes Western New England Past Men's Basketball

Strong Second Half Pushes Western New England Past Men's Basketball

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Sophomore Alex Sikorski (Rocky Hill, Conn.) went 7-for-11 from the floor and scored a team-high 20 points as the Western New England University men's basketball team shot nearly 68 percent from the floor in the second half to defeat Wentworth Institute of Technology, 97-79, in Commonwealth Coast Conference action Tuesday night.

With the win the Golden Bears pick up their second straight victory and improve to 7-12 overall and 4-6 in CCC play. The Leopards see their two-game win streak come to an end, falling to 6-12 (4-6).

After sophomore Gavin Keough (Dunstable, Mass.) made a layup to even the score at 4-all nearly two minutes into the game, Western New England used a 10-4 run to take a 14-8 lead after junior Tim Reilly (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) hit a pair of free throws. Keough and sophomore Kyle Henseler (Coventry, R.I.) hit baskets sandwiched around a senior Mikey Pettway (Bridgeport, Conn.) layup dropped the lead to four with 14:07 remaining.

The Golden Bears took a nine-point lead when Pettway converted a three-point play before junior Stephen Azums (Hyde Park, Mass.) made a layup on the next possession. Freshman Kenny Flynn (Dudley, Mass.) hit a three with 10:51 left to give the hosts a 10-point lead and pushed their lead to 11 (36-25) on a sophomore Zachary Tavitian (Milford, Conn.) three with 6:08 left. Wentworth scored the next six points to trim the lead to five after freshman Noah Bice (Woodacre, Calif.) made a layup with just over four minutes to play in the half.

Western New England took a seven-point lead after a Flynn basket with 1:24 left, however, two free throws from Azums and a three from Henseler knocked the lead down to two with 21 ticks left. A freshman Antonio Brancato (Fairfield, Conn.) layup just before time expired gave Western New England a 43-39 lead at the break. The Golden bears shot 59.3 percent from the floor in the first half while the Leopards shot 52.4 percent.

Opening the second half, the teams traded baskets twice with junior Mike McGuire (Garden City, N.Y.) making a basket 1:49 into the half which started a 9-2 run, capped off by a Pettway basket. With 12:03 left, Keough hit a three to cut the lead to five (59-54), however, a 12-2 run with Sikorski hitting a three with 8:41 left gave Western New England a 71-56 lead. The Black & Gold pulled within 10 after Bice hit a jumper with 3:07 remaining and, again, less than a minute later on another basket from Bice, however would get no closer.

In addition to his 20 points, Sikorski also grabbed seven rebounds. Three other players scored in double figures for the Golden Bears as Pettway scored 19 and dished out four assists, McGuire scored 18 and dished out five assists, and Reilly chipped in with 10.

Azums led all scorers with 25 points, going 10-for-11 from the floor after hitting his first nine shots. Bice ended with a career-high 21, while Keough finished with 10 points.  Senior Zach Bergeon (Litchfield, N.H.) had a game-high nine rebounds.

Wentworth hosts Roger Williams on Saturday.

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