Western New England Posts Wire-to-Wire Win over Eastern Nazarene, 92-81

Freshman Alex Sikorski broke out for a season-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting in Western New England's wire-to-wire victory over Eastern Nazarene on Saturday. (Photo by Chris Marion)
Freshman Alex Sikorski broke out for a season-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting in Western New England's wire-to-wire victory over Eastern Nazarene on Saturday. (Photo by Chris Marion)

Sikorski nets season-high 24 points for Golden Bears

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (January 20, 2018) –
The Western New England University men's basketball team established a 17-point halftime lead and held off a late Eastern Nazarene College rally to earn a 92-81 victory over the Lions on Saturday afternoon in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action at the Alumni Healthful Living Center. 

Top Performers
• Freshman guard Alex Sikorski (Rocky Hill, Conn.) broke out for a season and game-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc to go with four assists, three rebounds and one steal in 27 minutes off the bench.
• Fresh off becoming the newest member of Western New England's 1,000-point club, junior guard Mikey Pettway (Bridgeport, Conn.) scored 23 points and dished out eight assists while also recording four rebounds and two steals. Pettway shot 7-of-13 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
• Freshman guard EJ Day (Norwalk, Conn.) chipped in with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting to go with five steals and three assists in 23 minutes off the bench, while freshman forward Zach Tavitian (Milford, Conn.) added ten points and six boards.

• Eastern Nazarene was led by freshman forward Trey'Von Davis (Moore, S.C.), who posted a double-double with 15 points, ten rebounds, three assists, and one steal. Davis shot 6-of-7 from the field and 3-of-6 from the free throw line.
• Sophomore guard Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) also scored 15 points and grabbed seven boards, while classmate Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) finished with a team-high 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, 3-of-6 from long range, and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe.

Game Review
The Golden Bears raced out to an 11-2 lead over the first five minutes of the contest, capped by a Tavitian dunk in transition. Western New England led by the same margin (22-13) following a layup by Day midway through the half, and the home team closed out the frame with a 6-0 run to claim a 43-26 advantage at the break.

Western New England held its largest lead of the afternoon (46-28) just over a minute into the second half when sophomore Cole Eiber (Albertson, N.Y.) made 1-of-2 free throws. Three-pointers from Cheney and Rice allowed the Lions to close to within ten (50-40) at the 15:39 mark, but the Golden Bears answered with a 7-0 run to push their lead back to 17 (57-40) on a jumper by Sikorski two minutes later.

Trailing by 16 (72-56) after Sikorski connected from beyond the arc with 7:25 to play, the Lions put together one final rally. Rice sank two free throws at the 6:23 mark and sophomore Brenndan Rogers (Hanson, Mass.) followed with a triple on Eastern Nazarene's next possession, before a Davis layup made it a nine-point game (72-63) with 5:25 on the clock.

The visitors eventually got as close as seven (76-69) after Cheney hit a three-pointer with 3:22 left in the contest, but Western New England halted the rally there. Pettway completed a three-point play on the Golden Bears' ensuing possession, and Sikorski scored the next five points as Western New England restored its 15-point lead (84-69). Pettway made four free throws down the stretch and sophomore Mike McGuire (Garden City, N.Y.) went 2-for-2 at the line to put the finishing touches on the triumph for the Golden Bears.

Notes
• Western New England shot 50 percent (35-of-70) from the field and topped 90 points for the sixth time this season.
• For the third consecutive game, the Golden Bears matched their season-low with just six turnovers. Western New England was able to score 21 points off Eastern Nazarene's 22 turnovers.
• Western New England's bench outscored the Eastern Nazarene reserves 40-17, led by Sikorski and Day, who combined for 36 points.

Up Next
Western New England (8-8, 5-5 CCC) travels to Roger Williams next Wednesday, while Eastern Nazarene (6-11, 2-8 CCC) returns home to take on Salve Regina.