DANBURY, Conn --(Scott Russell, WCSU) After trailing only once the entire game, the Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team had to hold on down the stretch to pull out a 68-62 win over in-state rival Connecticut College Thursday evening at Feldman Arena.
Junior Joe Groski (Danbury, Conn.) recorded a double-double for the Colonials with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Also scoring in double figures were junior Tony Seldon (Bloomfield, Conn.) with 15 points and sophomore Ronnie Underwood (Bridgeport, Conn.) with 14 points.
For Connecticut College, senior Mason Lopez (Hoboken, N.J.) led with 15 points, followed by freshman Zuri Pavlin (New York, N.Y.) with 14 and senior Rob Harrigan (Milford, Conn.) with 10. Pavlin and Harrigan also both recorded double-doubles with 12 and 10 rebounds, respectively.
"We scrapped hard and had opportunities to win but couldn't tough out a few big plays on either end when we really needed them," Connecticut College Head Men's Basketball Coach Tom Satran said.
Western opened an early lead on a 3-pointer by junior Jimmy Louissaint (Worcester, Mass.) and jumper by Groski , to lead 5-0 after two minutes. Connecticut College scored the next five points to even the score and took a one-point, 12-11, lead at the 14:50 mark. With the score tied 17-17, Western went on a 6-2 run to open up a 23-19 lead, and stretch that to 28-21 with 6:24 left on the clock. A 7-2 run by the Camels narrowed the gap to 30-28, but Underwood closed the half with a three-pointer to give the Colonials a 33-28 lead at intermission.
In the second half, Western used a 7-4 run to start the half to take its largest lead of the game, 40-32. Although the Colonials would lead throughout the second half, their lead never reached double digits. At the 15:27 mark, Connecticut College used a jumper by Pavin to trim the lead to four points, and a Lopez 3-pointer again moved the Camels to within four points with 5:49 remaining. With one minute remaining, Harrigan hit a jumper to make the score 63-60, but Western scored the next five points to put the game out of reach. Western's final margin of victory was 68-62.
For the game, Connecticut College held a 47-46 advantage in rebounds, and also had an edge in assists, 14-12. Western finished shooting 37.5% from the floor and 50.0% from the line, while Connecticut College hit 34.9% and 58.3%, respectively.
With the win, Western moves to 9-4 on the season, while Connecticut College falls to 7-6. The Colonials return to action Saturday, January 18th, when the travel to play Little East Conference rival UMass Boston. Game time is slated for 3:00pm.
The Camels will host NESCAC rival Middlebury College Sunday in 2:00 p.m. game at Luce Field House.