Golden Bears Knock Off No. 21 Nichols in Overtime, 100-94

Junior guard Mikey Pettway scored a career-high 38 points in Western New England's 100-94 win at No. 21 Nichols on Saturday.
Junior guard Mikey Pettway scored a career-high 38 points in Western New England's 100-94 win at No. 21 Nichols on Saturday.

Pettway scores career-high 38 points to go with seven assists, four rebounds and four steals

DUDLEY, Mass. (January 6, 2018) –
Led by a career effort from junior guard Mikey Pettway (Bridgeport, Conn.), the Western New England University men's basketball team knocked off Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) preseason favorite and No. 21 nationally ranked Nichols College 100-94 in overtime on Saturday at the Nichols Athletic Center. 

Top Performers
• Pettway erupted for a career-high 38 points on 17-of-24 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 from the free throw line, while also recording seven assists, four rebounds and four steals.
• Sophomore guard Mike McGuire (Garden City, N.Y.) finished with 19 points, six boards, three assists and two steals, while sophomore Tim Reilly (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) and freshman Zach Tavitian (Milford, Conn.) chipped in with 13 points each.

• Sophomore forward Jerome Cunningham (Westbury, N.Y.) paced Nichols with a team-high 26 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field and 16-of-18 from the free throw line to go with 12 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
• Senior guard Daequon Antoine (Fort Mill, S.C.) recorded 22 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two assists, while junior guard Marcos Echevarria (Lynn, Mass.) added 21 points, 14 boards, four assists and two steals.

Game Review
With Western New England trailing by a point late in regulation, McGuire was fouled and made 1-of-2 free throws before Antoine's corner three on the other end rattled out at the buzzer, sending the contest to overtime. Antoine gave the Bison a three-point lead (83-80) when he connected from long range a minute into the extra session, and Nichols led by the same margin (89-86) following an Antoine layup with two minutes remaining.

The Golden Bears took control from there, however, as sophomore guard Nick DeGennaro (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) knocked down a jumper on Western New England's ensuing possession, and Pettway followed a Nichols turnover with another jumper to put the visitors ahead 90-89. After a Bison offensive foul, Pettway sank two free throws to make it a three-point game. Nichols trailed by just two (92-90) with 33 seconds remaining, but McGuire went a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line over the final 15 seconds to seal the win.

Western New England, which trailed by three at halftime, took its first lead of the second half (47-46) on a three-pointer by freshman Alex Sikorski (Rocky Hill, Conn.) at the 17:49 mark. The Golden Bears held a 65-61 advantage following a McGuire jumper with 9:09 remaining, but Nichols responded with a 5-0 run, capped by an Echevarria trey, to regain a 66-65 edge with 6:57 on the clock. Neither team held more than a two-point advantage over the remainder of regulation, as Echevarria gave the Bison a 78-77 edge at the charity stripe with 46 seconds remaining before McGuire's late free throw tied the contest and forced overtime.

Nichols jumped out to a 14-4 advantage just five minutes into the game, forcing a Western New England timeout. The Golden Bears battled back to take their first lead (31-28) on a Reilly triple with 5:29 left in the first half, and the Golden Bears led by as much as five (39-34) on a Pettway layup with 2:03 to play in the period. Nichols closed out the half with an 8-0 run, including five points from Cunningham, to establish a 42-39 edge at the break.

Notes
• Western New England has won four consecutive games since starting the season 1-5.
• The Golden Bears shot 51.4 percent from the field (36-of-70), their second best clip this season, while scoring a season-high 100 points. The Western New England defense limited Nichols to just 36.8 percent (25-of-68) shooting for the game.
• In six career contests against Nichols, Pettway is averaging 24 points per game with a trio of 30+ point performances.
• The Golden Bears, who snapped Nichols' seven-game winning streak that dated back to late November, are now 14-24 all-time against the Bison.

Up Next
Western New England (5-5, 2-2 CCC) will be back on the road next Tuesday night with another tough test at Endicott College, while Nichols (9-2, 3-1 CCC) travels to Curry.