Men's Basketball Downs Wentworth in OT, 67-64, to Advance to ECAC Semifinals
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Fourth seeded Bridgewater State University posted a 67-64 overtime victory over number five Wentworth in the opening round of the ECAC Division III New England Men's Basketball Tournament on Wednesday evening at the Tinsley Center.
Junior guard Shawn Yard (Brockton, Mass.) tallied 15 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals, and junior guard Brendan McDonald (Dorchester, Mass.) scored 14 points off the bench to lead the host Bears (16-11). Bridgewater moves on the take on top-seeded WPI in the tournament semifinals on Saturday at 2:00 PM. Wentworth ends the seasons with a record of 17-11.
Senior forward Anthony Fortes (Providence, R.I.) added 11 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the free throw line and grabbed eight rebounds, while senior guard Nathan Miller (New Bedford, Mass.) chipped in with ten points off the bench for the Bears.
Junior guard Corey Therriault (Auburn, Maine) paced the visiting Leopards with 18 points on 4 of 7 shooting from three-point range.. Therriault also pulled down nine rebounds. Junior guard Colin Johnson (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) scored 12 points off the bench for Wentworth, while senior guard Adam Dombrowski (Dunstable, Mass.) added 11.
Bridgewater got outstanding production from their reserves. The BSU bench outscored their counterparts, 36-20.
The game was evenly played throughout with Wentworth shooting 44% (28-64) from the floor and Bridgewater connecting on 42% (25-59) of its field goal attempts. The Bears grabbed 38 rebounds (13 offensive) while the Leopards pulled down 37 (12 offensive). The turnover category was also close with Wentworth registering 15 miscues compared to 14 for BSU.
After opening the scoring on a Yard jumper, Bridgewater did not lead again until there was only 4:04 remaining in regulation. The Bears trailed by as many as ten points including a 45-35 deficit with 9:15 left in the second half. Down 48-40 with under six minutes on the clock, Bridgewater scored nine straight points capped off by a Yard driving layup to give BSU the 49-48 advantage.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Therriault put the visitors back out in front, 54-49. Yard answered with a trifecta to pull the Bears to within two (54-52) with 1:26 remaining. After the teams exchanged missed shots, BSU senior center Samuel Johnson (North Chelmsford, Mass.) came up with a big steal off an inbounds play. Johnson fed a driving McDonald who was fouled with 19 seconds on the clock. McDonald calmly sank both free throws to tie the game at 54-54. An off-balance Wentworth jumper with the final seconds of regulation ticking down was off the mark as the game headed to overtime.
The score was still tied late in the extra session at 58-58 when Fortes drove in for a layup with 1:05 remaining to give the Bears a lead they would not relinquish. After a missed Wentworth three, Fortes would connect on 6 of 8 free throws over the final 40 seconds to secure the victory for the hosts.
Bridgewater had a decided advantage at three thrown line, 16 attempts to just two for Wentworth. However, 12 of the Bears' 16 attempts from the charity stripe came in overtime when Wentworth was forced to foul.
BSU freshman forward Michael Lofton (Mansfield, Mass.) blocked four shots in the game toincrease his season total to 44 as he eclipsed the Bears' single-season mark of 43 blocks set by Rich Maguire in 1985-86.