SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Curry College men's basketball team dropped another tough one on Saturday afternoon, falling to the Western New England Golden Bears 98-62 in a Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) match up. The loss drops the Colonels to 1-20 on the year with an 0-12 mark in league play, while the win improves WNE's overall record to 9-13, while they creep closer to .500 in the CCC at 6-7.
Curry jumped out to a great start in the contest, as a pair of baskets by junior Jared Thorpe-Johnson (Dorchester, Mass.) followed by a Louis Stein (Mount Olive, N.J.) jumper to go up 7-0. The distance wouldn't hold for long, however, as a pair of three-pointers by junior Mike McGuire (Garden City, N.Y.) brought WNE right back into the fold. The offenses would stumble for a moment, as the teams combined for a trio of missed triples, but a foul called on Zachary Tavitian (Milford, Conn.) sent Dwayne Boothe (Jamaica, N.Y.) to the free throw line, where he hit a pair. Down by three just five minutes into the contest, Mikey Pettway (Bridgeport, Conn.) brought WNE to within one with the first points of his senior night, before freshman Kenny Flynn (Dudley, Mass.) gave the Golden Bears their first lead with an inside layup. With the advantage, WNE started to pick on senior Alex Stein (Mount Olive, N.J.) which led to five quick points thanks to another McGuire triple and a layup from junior tim Reilly (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.). To go along with the nine points he had already posted, McGuire showed off his defensive prowess by blocking an attempt from Spencer Feng (Keene, N.H.) which led to another Reilly basket, this time from distance, to put WNE up 20-11, prompting a Curry timeout. Shortly past the midway point of the first half, Thorpe-Johnson drove home another jumper, already posting nine points of his own in the match up (following a 59 point performance in his last game), but not before a thunderous dunk from Tavitian on the other end of the floor got the WNE crowd roaring.
The scoring would once again hit a lull, but Golden Bears kicked the silence with three straight scores to double up the Colonels, 30-15. Curry found a spark thanks to a triple from Deshawn Williams (New Haven, Conn.), their first make from the floor in nearly three minutes, but a fast break dunk by sophomore Alex Sikorski (Rocky Hill, Conn.) kept the crowd in full throat. Curry endured another three minute scoring draught before a three from RJ Hadfield (Warwick, R.I.) brought Curry back to within 18 at 40-22. The Colonels would close the half on back to back Feng triples, but the big men of the Golden Bears continued to wreak havoc inside and sent the hosts to the break with a 49-30 advantage, with Thorpe-Johnson and McGuire each posting 12 points in period.
The Golden Bears started the half with a quick score underneath from Sikorski, as the hosts shot four for their first five to trigger a 9-0 run to start the frame. Hadfield would get Curry back to their scoring ways with 16 minutes left to play to pull to 59-33, but the offensive duties soon fell again on the shoulders of Thorpe-Johnson, who raced up the next six Colonels points. The Curry defense looked to remain diligent, but Flynn managed to draw a foul on Thorpe-Johnson and find the basket, converting his and-1 to put WNE up by 30 at 73-43. With just over eight minutes remaining on the clock, Pettway dished out the loudest of his seven helpers, as he found Flynn for an alley-oop jam to extend their edge to 80-45. Curry managed to reel off a 9-2 run, but a pair of Pettway jumpers brought the life back into the crowd. Less than two minutes later, after another layup and a pair of converted free throws, Pettway came off the floor to a rousing ovation from his WNE fans and teammates after an exciting 23 point performance. The offenses went back-and-forth over the final few minutes of the tilt, with the WNE play-by-play announcer showing love to the visiting Thorpe-Johnson's masterful offensive output, as well as the effort of the young guys, showing up big despite receiving limited opportunities. Such affection came for Jared Sancho (North Haven, Conn.) after the 6'2" freshman got to the rim for a put back tip in. As the clock wound down, the Golden Bears held on to the ball and picked up a 98-62 win over the Colonels.
Thorpe-Johnson registered a game high 29 points and has now posted 120 points over his last four games, putting him on the fast track toward a significant career milestone. Kieran Carroll (Greenwich, Conn.) posted a double-double, picking up 10 points and 11 rebounds, also a game high. The Colonels were led in assists by Feng's 3 while Hadfield's pair of steals also topped the team.
Tavitian controlled the boards for the Golden Bears, pulling down seven rebounds while rejecting four Curry shots. The hosts were clearly clicking on all cylinders, compiling 19 helpers, seven of which were attributed to Pettway. To top off these notable performances, WNE boaster five different double digit scorers in Pettway (23), McGuire (15), Tavitian (14), Reilly (11), and Flyyn (11).
Curry will play next on Tuesday, February 5 at 7:30 p.m. at home against Gordon College as they continue their CCC schedule as the Colonels seek revenge after suffering through a 105-89 loss to the Fighting Scots on December 1. Western New England will also continue league play as they travel to face Salve Regina, also on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., as they look to top the Seahawks after dropping their first tilt 77-70 on January 10.