SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Curry College men's basketball team erased a 10-point halftime deficit and came away with a 73-71 victory at Western New England University on Wednesday night in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.
Senior Daymeann Stewart (Milwaukee, Wis.) finished with a game-high 23 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals to lead the Colonels. Classmate Jared Thorpe-Johnson (Dorchester, Mass.) poured in 21 points on 7-for-15 shooting (7-for-11 from three). Freshman Michael Ashley (Atlanta, Ga.) registered 11 points and a season-high 16 boards. Ashley's classmate Angelo Sardegna (Lutz, Fla.) closed out the scorers in double figures with 10 points while adding two rebounds, nine assists, and two steals.
Curry came out fast by scoring eight of the game's first nine points. The Golden Bears pulled even with a run of their own, a 9-0 spurt to give them their first lead, 10-8, with 13:38 left in the half. The Colonels regained the advantage on treys by Thorpe-Johnson and Stewart extending the margin to four, 14-10. The score hung in the balance for the next 3:50 as neither team led by more than four.
A bucket by sophomore Antonio Brancato (Fairfield, Conn.) with 9:04 remaining in the opening stanza started a 12-0 run turned a 22-18 advantage for Curry into a 30-22 margin in favor of Western New England. The Colonels pulled to within as few as three in the closing minutes of the frame, but the Golden Bears were able to carry a 42-32 edge into the half.
Curry went on its own run to start the second half, outscoring Western New England 11-0 over the first 2:47 to trim the deficit to just one, 44-43. Sardegna contributed three baskets on the drive, totaling six points. The run prompted a timeout by the Golden Bears, in which they would regroup and score five straight to widen the margin to six with 15:40 to play.
The Colonels kept it close, not letting the deficit go beyond seven the rest of the way. Junior Zach Tavitian (Milford, Conn.) scored on back-to-back possessions to push the score to 55-48, but the home team would see the lead evaporate when Curry embarked on a 13-2 run to lead 61-57 with 7:25 left.
The Colonels increased its margin to seven (66-59) with 5:37 remaining in regulation and held off a late charge by the Golden Bears. After a layup by Ashley, Western New England called a timeout and tallied four straight points following the break to make the score 73-71 with 21 ticks to play.
A turnover by Sardegna gave the ball back to the Golden Bears with 15 seconds left and senior Mike McGuire (Garden City, N.Y.) missed the potential game-winning three at the buzzer as the Colonels escaped with the two-point victory.
Curry (5-12 overall, 1-7 CCC) will next host Roger Williams University on Saturday, January 25 at 3:00 p.m. Western New England (11-6 overall, 6-2 CCC) stays at home and will welcome in Endicott College on Saturday for a 3:00 p.m. start.