BOSTON, Mass. – Graduate student Nick DeFeo (Southington, Conn.) nailed three 3-pointers and went 11-12 at the line to finish with a game-high 24 points, as the Western New England men’s basketball team snapped a five-game losing streak with a 52-42 win over Wentworth Institute of Technology in Commonwealth Coast Conference action played at Tansey Gymnasium.
The Golden Bears improve to 4-10 overall and 2-5 in CCC play while the Leopards dropped their third straight to stand at 6-8 (4-3).
Senior John-Michael Fragnoli (Schenectady, N.Y.) put the first point on the board by making his first free throw. The Leopards opened the game by scoring eight points and held the Golden Bears scoreless for the first five minutes. A pair of 3-pointers by WNE helped jumpstart at 9-2 run to bring the Golden Bears within a point halfway through the first. The Leopards played strong in the paint with points from junior Kyle Romich (Groton, Mass.) and Fragnoli.
The teams exchanged scores, but Western New England caught up to the Leopards when freshman Lucien Fortier (Southbury, Conn.) nailed a 3-pointer to tie the score at 20 with 1:13 remaining. The teams went into halftime tied at 21.
After the teams opened the second half exchanging scores, Western New England scored eight straight to lead 36-27 with 12:07 remaining. The Leopards cut into the lead with offensive play on the boards, but the Golden Bear offense continued to click. A pair of deep 3-pointers by DeFeo – including one as the shot clock was winding down – helped lift the Western New England offense in the second half.
Wentworth came as close as five with 5:20 left, however would get no closer as the Golden Bears used a 9-4 spurt to take a 10-point lead with 1:02 remaining.
The Leopards were held to 20.6 percent shooting in the second half and 22.4 percent for the game, while connecting on just one of 16 shots from behind the arc.
DeFeo scored 19 of his 24 in the second half and also finished with seven rebounds and three steals. Freshman Nelson Zayas (Springfield, Mass.) scored 10 points as the only other Golden Bear player in double figures. Junior Zack Askew (Middletown, Conn.) had 11 points and five blocked shots.
Fragnoli paced Wentworth with 15 points while senior Nico Donato (Glastonbury, Conn.) had eight points, six rebounds and three assists. Freshman Cesar Fulcar (Watertown, Mass.) has five rebounds and four assists.
Both teams continue CCC play on Saturday as Western New England hosts Endicott and Wentworth is at home against Nichols.