SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Western New England University men's basketball team led by as much as 27 points in an eventual 93-79 victory over Roger Williams University on Saturday afternoon in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) opener for both teams at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.
Junior guard Alex Sikorski (Rocky Hill, Conn.) led the way for the Golden Bears with a double-double performance, as he scored a game-high 30 points and secured ten rebounds to go with three assists. Sikorski shot 10-of-17 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc while connecting on 7-of-7 free throw attempts.
Senior guard Mike McGuire (Garden City, N.Y.) added 21 points, in the process becoming the 24th Golden Bear in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career. McGuire, who shot 8-of-16 from the floor and 5-of-12 from long range, also recorded four steals, three rebounds and two assists.
Roger Williams senior guard Rich Pugliese (Middlebury, Conn.) powered the Hawks with a team-high 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. Junior guard JJ Pfohl (Trumbull, Conn.) posted a double-double with 13 points, ten rebounds and four assists.
The Golden Bears made their first six shots from the field and led 15-8 after Tavitian completed a three-point play just over three minutes into the contest. After Roger Williams responded with a 7-0 run to tie the score, Western New England quickly pulled back ahead (17-15) on a Sikorski jumper.
Leading by three (27-24) with 10:15 left in the half, the Golden Bears utilized an 11-2 spurt to extend their advantage into double figures (38-26). The Hawks answered with another 7-0 run to close the gap to five (38-33) with 4:38 to play, but Western New England outscored Roger Williams 13-6 the rest of the way to build a 12-point cushion (51-39) at the break.
A Pugliese layup on the Hawks' opening possession of the second half made it a ten-point game (51-41), before McGuire drained a three-pointer that put him over the 1,000-point mark. Sikorski followed with consecutive baskets for the Golden Bears to cap Western New England's 8-0 run that stretched the lead to 17 (58-41) just 1:27 into the frame.
The Golden Bears' advantage reached 20 (63-43) on a McGuire jumper a minute later, and eventually a game-high 27 (71-44) after sophomore Kenny Flynn (Dudley, Mass.) went 2-for-2 at the free throw line at the 15:48 mark.
Western New England maintained its 20+ point lead until an AJ Morales (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) layup made it a 17-point game (78-59) with 8:47 to play. As the Hawks attempted to chip away at their deficit in the later stages of the second half, Sikorski continued to hit shots to keep the Golden Bears in front by a comfortable margin.
Roger Williams eventually got as close as nine (86-77) on a Pugliese layup with a minute to play, but a McGuire triple on Western New England's ensuing possession ended the Hawks' comeback hopes as the Golden Bears went on to secure a 14-point triumph.
• The Golden Bears outrebounded the Hawks 38-31 and committed a season-low eight turnovers.
• Western New England's win marks its first victory over the Hawks since December 8, 2015, snapping a seven-game losing streak to Roger Williams.
Both teams will be back in action on Wednesday night, as Western New England (5-4, 1-0 CCC) hosts Salve Regina and Roger Williams (5-2, 0-1 CCC) returns home to take on Curry.