The NE10 resumed intra-divisional play on Wednesday, highlighted by two head-to-head match-ups between teams tied for first:
Le MOYNE 77 ADELPHI 63
Ryan Roland notched a career-high 22 points (7-10 FG, 3-5 from long range) and Kobi Nwandu tossed in 15 in 40 minutes as Le Moyne rallied to top old Mideast Collegiate Conference rival Adelphi in Garden City for its fifth straight win, maintaining a share of first place in the Southwest Division. The Dolphins – who hit their first seven shots in constructing a 19-6 lead – saw the well run dry, getting outscored 20-1 and being limited to one free throw over a nearly 10-minute stretch as the Panthers surged in front, 26-20. The gap was 44-36 at halftime before the Fins outscored their hosts 41-19 over the final 20 minutes to win going away. C.J. Asuncion-Byrd – who tallied all 11 of his points (5-6 FG) after the break – kick-started a 16-5 flourish over the last 5:30 with a traditional 3-point play that doubled a 61-58 lead, while Nwandu followed with a left-corner trey to provide breathing room at 67-58. Le Moyne then converted seven of eight free throws over the final 2:27 to complete the season sweep and snap Adelphi’s five-game win streak. Tom Brown compiled 10 points and 11 rebounds for the victors, who fared better at the stripe (19-22 to 8-11), on the glass (32-22) and off turnovers (22-11). Ronnie Silva (15 points, 3-4 from 3, four assists), Jack Laffey (12 points, all in the first half), Dwaine Williams (11 off the bench) and Nick Cambio (10) were the top threats for the Panthers, who nailed 7 of 9 from beyond the arc in the opening period and 2 of 11 afterward. Both teams shot 49% from the floor, with the Dolphins accounting for all six of the game’s offensive rebounds.
NEW HAVEN 99 SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT 77
New Haven shares the top spot in the division with Le Moyne after similarly erasing a halftime deficit (44-41) and pulling away from crosstown rival Southern Connecticut at Charger Gym. Elijah Bailey was the man of the hour in this one, shattering his career high with 32 points (5-8 from deep), including the 1,000th of his career as the Chargers used runs of 18-2 and 23-12 to flip a 52-51 deficit early in the second half into an eventual 95-72 bulge with 1:24 to play, snapping Southern’s four-game hot streak. Derrick Rowland also reached a new personal standard with 27 points (9-14 FG, 7-11 from distance), while Kessly Felizor contributed 18 (4-5 FG, 3-4 from afar, 7-7 FT) for the winners, who were the superior shooters (59%-42%), especially from beyond the arc (18-30 to 10-34) and at the foul line (21-22 to 13-17). The Owls – who were fronted by Kealan Ives (26 points, six rebounds, six assists) and CJ Seaforth (21, 6) - held advantages on the boards (34-28, including 18-6 on the offensive end), on second chances (16-6), on the break (15-4) and off turnovers (24-10). Isaiah McLeod and Joey Wallace each contributed 11 points to the losing cause.
PACE 68 AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL 63
Pace joins Adelphi and Southern Connecticut in a three-way tie for third, a game off the, ahem, “pace” after coming back against American International in Springfield for its fourth straight win. Peyton Wejnert led the charge with 22 points (12-15 FT) and 13 rebounds for the Setters, who trailed 37-26 less than a minute into the final frame before uncorking a 33-12 upswing, capped by a pair of Wejnert foul shots, to open up a 59-49 advantage with 5:53 left. The Yellow Jackets shaved the deficit down to three on three occasions down the stretch, including 66-63 with seven seconds remaining before Greg Poleon (17 points on 7-of-9 shooting) nailed the door shut two seconds later with two freebies. Ty Cohen, Jr. (11 points) and Brandon Jacobs (10 points, five assists) offered ample support for Pace, which shot at a higher clip overall (45%-33%) but not from long range (3-15 to 8-23) Oddly, the Setters finished with one more turnover (23) than basket (22) in a game that “featured” a whopping 40 miscues. Zekiah Owens was high man for AIC with 14 points, followed by 13 from Adonis Williams and 10 off the bench from Isaiah Salter.
ST. ANSELM 96 FRANKLIN PIERCE 64
Gustav Suhr-Jessen led six in double figures with 18 points (9-9 FT) and eight rebounds in #17 St. Anselm’s trouncing of Granite State foe Franklin Pierce at Stoutenburgh Gym, moving a step closer to clinching the Northeast Division crown. Trailing 11-8 just over six minutes in, the Hawks took flight with a 33-12 blitz, opening up a 41-23 cushion on the way to a 47-30 halftime chasm. A 22-7 burst after the restart expanded the advantage to 69-37 and the Ravens never came closer than 23 points the balance of the ballgame, thanks to impact performances by Cody Ball (18 points, 7-11 FG, 4-7 from 3, six boards, four assists), Tim Guers (16 points and five helpers in a truncated outing), Miles Tention (15 bench points, 6-8 FG, 3-5 from deep), Chris Paul (11 points, six rebounds) and Danny Evans (11 points, six rebounds, five helpers). Eleven of the 12 players scored for fourth-place Pierce, with Isaiah Moore (17 points) leading the way. Falu Seck and Jeremy Arthur chipped in with 11 points apiece in defeat as their team was soundly outshot (55%-38%), outrebounded (46-26) and out-assisted (20-7), while also getting outclassed at the line (18-21 to 7-10) and on the break (18-2).
MERRIMACK 73 ASSUMPTION 55
Merrimack remains a distant second despite thumping Assumption in Worcester thanks to an 18-3 tear that lengthened a 10-9 lead to 28-12 en route to a 42-23 halftime divide. The margin maxed at at 54-30 on a 3-pointer by Idris Joyner (14 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots) with 15:13 on the clock, and the Greyhounds never came closer than 16 points the rest of the way, falling for a fourth consecutive ballgame. Juvaris Hayes again filled the stat columns with 19 points, five rebounds, eight assists and seven steals for the Warriors, who also landed Mikey Watkins (14 points in reserve duty, 7-11 FG) and Jaleel Lord (10 points) in double figures. Michael Speight chalked up 14 of his 17 bench points (6-9 FG, 4-6 from long distance) in the second half for Assumption, which also received a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double from Damien Rance. Merrimack shot it better (48%-38%), dominated the paint (46-24) and feasted off turnovers (18-8), offsetting disparities on second chances (8-0) and in the assist column (16-9).
BENTLEY 84 STONEHILL 65
Down the road at the Dana Center, Ryan Richmond exploded for 25 of his 35 points after intermission, nailing four of seven from behind the 3-point line and snaring nine rebounds in leading Bentley past commonwealth rival Stonehill to slam the brakes on a four-game downturn and sweep the season series for the first time in six seasons. The Falcons trailed 20-13 just over nine minutes into this one before embarking on a 35-13 spree over the last 10:37 of the half to take a 48-33 lead into the locker room. Richmond – who had misfired on nine of his first 10 shots from the floor – capped the run with a buzzer-beating bucket, and the lead ranged between 12 and 22 throughout the second half. Bentley also placed Colton Lawrence (18 points, seven rebounds) and Chris Hudson (15 points, four assists) in twin figures, while Owen Chose spearheaded the Skyhawks’ attack with a career-high 27 points (11-19 FG), 19 of which came in the opening period. Will Moreton added 18 points and 11 caroms for Stonehill, which was outworked at the stripe (16-18 to 3-5), as well as off turnovers (19-10) in falling for a fifth straight outing.
ST. MICHAEL’S 82 SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE 72
Derek Cheatom busted out for 35 points (12-19 FG, 6-9 from long range) and six rebounds, powering St. Michael’s past Southern New Hampshire in Colchester to snap a six-game slide. In a game that featured nine ties and seven lead changes, the fifth-place Penmen were ahead 38-31 just 38 seconds into the second half when Cheatom unloaded 12 points during a 19-6 run that put the hosts on top 50-44. A 13-5 counter-run, culminating in a Justyn Lacy lay-up, gave SNHU its last advantage at 57-55 with 9:08 to go, before the Purple Knights responded with an 18-4 upswing – bookended by Winston Jones II lay-ups – to open up a 73-61 lead with 3:17 left. The Penmen – who were led by Eamonn Joyce’s 20 points (8-11 FG) and eight rebounds – came as close as five down the stretch, but St. Mike’s nailed five of six at the foul line over the final 45 seconds to cement the result. Levi Holmes III (15 points, six assists) and Jordan Guzman (14 points) played key roles for the winners, who prevailed despite being outshot from the field (48%-44%). They made up for that shortfall with better 3-point accuracy (10-23 to 7-23), twice as many free throws (14-19 to 7-11), half as many turnovers (14-7) and twice as many mistake points (18-9).
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS 69 NYIT 60
There were two ECC games on the Wednesday slate, and both went the way of the road club and higher team in the standings. At Recreation Hall, St. Thomas Aquinas burst out of the gate with an 11-3 lead and pretty much maintained it the remainder of the ballgame, holding off upset-minded New York Institute of Technology to move within a game of second-place Daemen and 1.5 games behind similarly idle conference leader Molloy. Louis Griffith topped the Spartans’ scorecard with 17 points off the bench, while Kameron Murrell logged 15, eight of which came during crunch time, including two freebies and a triple after the Bears had crept within 55-52 with just over four minutes to play. The senior guard added a dagger three with 21 ticks remaining to open up a 67-59 lead, as the largest spread of the night was actually the final score. Sekou Cisse totaled eight points and 13 rebounds for STAC, including a foul shot that topped off a 9-0 spurt to open the second period, flipping a 26-25 deficit into a 34-26 lead the Spartans would not relinquish. Laurynas Stonkus (13 points in a reserve role), Collins Onyeike (12 points, three blocks) and Kieran Hamilton (12 points) were the top options for NYIT, which was the more accurate shooting team (45%-34%), including 3-pointers (3-10 compared to STAC’s 3-19). What killed the upset bid were 24 turnovers and a poor 13-of-26 performance at the line (STAC was 20-27 with 16 miscues) as the losing streak increased to five.
BRIDGEPORT 86 MERCY 73
Five players recorded between 10 and 14 points, and Bridgeport led from wire to wire vs. Mercy in Dobbs Ferry to grab fourth place. Bakary Camara led the balanced attack with 14 points and four assists, followed by Dennis Green (13 bench points, 6-9 FG), Eric Rankin (11 points, four steals), Vakas Iqbal (11 points off the pine) and Travis Robinson-Morgan (10 points, five assists, four swipes) as the Purple Knights jumped out to a 9-0 lead and thwarted numerous Mavericks rallies. A 9-2 second-half flurry extended a 75-67 edge to 84-69 following a Robinson-Morgan lay-up with 50 seconds remaining, finally putting the bow on the package. Bryan Griffin was high man for the Mavs with 17 points and nine rebounds. He was flanked by Amir Atkins (14 points, 4-4 from distance), Tawayne Anderson, Jr. (12 points, seven boards, four assists), Daquon Ervin (11 bench points) and Lamont Williams (10). Bridgeport outshot (55%-48%) and out-stole (17-6) its hosts, punishing them 31-12 off mistakes thanks to a stronger assist-turnover line (22/14 to 10/25). Mercy was better on the backboards (38-29), from beyond the arc (7-17 to 7-25) and at the line (10-15 to 3-7), though it wasn’t enough to overcome the costly mistakes, as the Mavs now sit two full games out of the playoff picture.