WORCESTER, Mass. – The Curry College men's basketball team fell to the Worcester State Lancers on Sunday afternoon by a score of 93-52 in each teams' final game of the Clark Holiday Tournament at the Kneller Athletic Center on the campus of Clark University. The loss drops the Colonels' record to 1-11 overall, while the Lancers improve to 7-6 on the year. Though the game remained close throughout the first half of this contest, Worcester State's big men controlled the paint and the action in the second frame to pull away decisively from Curry.
The Colonels won the opening tip and made it count on an early three-pointer by junior Jared Thorpe-Johnson (Dorchester, Mass.). The Lancers would put in a basket of their own on their first shot before the teams would match turnovers on their ensuing possessions. The early minutes of the game saw several good looks from the Colonels that refused to fall, which put Curry into a hole, despite employing a strong defensive effort which held the Lancers to 11 points over the first six minutes of the game. The Colonels slowly began to see shots fall, including back-to-back threes from junior guard Spencer Feng (Keene, N.H.), but fouls began to pile up, allowing the Lancers to stay close. Worcester State crept back to within two at 19-17 after a pair of fouls were called on the Colonels, including one on what looked to be a solid block by sophomore Justin Kelley (Medford, Mass.) on a layup by Lancers forward Shaun McCarthy (Oxford, Mass.). This whistle drew the ire of several Curry fans in attendance and led to more Worcester State free throws. The Lancers would go 12-14 on free throws, thanks to 12 Curry fouls in the first half alone. A good jumper for three by Thorpe-Johnson tied the game at 36 all with 1:21 remaining in the half, but with just under a minute remaining, he would land hard fighting for a rebound on the following Lancers possession. He rose slowly under his own power and remained in the game, benefitting from the halftime buzzer, as the teams headed to the locker rooms after a converted free throw by Erik Bjorn (Holden, Mass.) gave Worcester State a 37-36 advantage.
The beginning of the second half would foreshadow the remainder of the frame, as a turnover by Curry on their first possession gave way to a McCarthy layup. Curry would come up empty on each of their first three possessions, before a drive by senior guard Alex Stein (Mount Olive, N.J.) sent him to the line, where he would convert on a pair. However, Curry's struggles would not end there. Worcester State would continue to run the show inside while sloppy shooting coupled with a lack of rebounding presence from the Colonels saw the deficit extend to 23 at 61-33. A driving layup by Kelley with 12:34 to go ended Curry's shooting draught after nearly five and half minutes, a stretch that saw eight consecutive missed shots and five fouls from the Colonels. Curry would turn to press coverage in the back court, but precision passing and impressive court vision on the part of Worcester State let them continue to move the ball ahead and get to the hole. Despite getting several hustle plays from Thorpe-Johnson, Stein, and freshman Colin Boucher (North Reading, Mass.), the Colonels' chances at a comeback were smothered as Worcester State grew their lead to 35 points with just five minutes remaining in regulation. Both coaches turned to their benches to close out the contest and as the clock hit triple zeroes, the Lancers secured a 93-52 victory.
Feng led Curry's scoring, putting up 12 points on the day, while sophomore RJ Hadfield (Warwick, R.I.) collected a team high seven assists, despite having some shooting struggles on the day, going 1-14 from the field and 0-12 from behind the arc. Junior forward Kieran Carroll (Greenwich, Conn.) led the Colonels with seven rebounds, though he would foul out with 11:40 remaining in the second half. McCarthy led the way for Worcester State with 30 points, which included 10 made free throws on 12 attempts. Bjorn dominated in the paint for the Lancers, posting team highs with four assists and 15 rebounds, eight of which were offensive. Bjorn also recorded a double-double, putting up 28 points.
Curry lost not only Carroll to fouls, but also forward Dwayne Boothe (Jamaica, N.Y.), who fouled out with 8:43 left on the clock in the second half. These inside presences for Curry were in foul trouble all day, which allowed Worcester State to run rampant down low, accumulating 17 offensive rebounds, 22 second chance points, and a disheartening 52 points in the paint.
Curry will play next on Thursday, January 3rd at 7:30pm at home against Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) opponent Salve Regina. Worcester State will resume action on the road at Salem State on Saturday, January 5th at 1:00pm in a tilt between MASCAC foes.