|University of New England||Wentworth College|
BOSTON, Mass. – Junior Ben Kizel’s (Short Hills, N.J.) two free throws with 28.5 seconds remaining were the 11th and final lead change of the night as the Wentworth Institute of Technology men’s basketball team pulled out a 44-40 victory over the University of New England in the Commonwealth Coast Conference opener for both teams.
With the win the Leopards even their record at 2-2 on the season (1-0 CCC) while the Nor’Easters dropped their third straight to stand at 1-5 (0-1).
A slow start to the contest saw the two teams combine for just eight points over the first 6:17. Junior Sam Knollmeyer (Hampton, N.H.) drained a three which gave the Leopards a 5-3 lead and freshman Stephen Azums (Hyde Park, Mass.) converted a layup with 12:51 left to make it a 7-3 game.
UNE outscored Wentworth 10-2 and took a 13-9 lead on a senior Tom Nason (Milton, N.H.) jumper with 8:13 to play in the half. Knollmeyer followed with four straight points to even the score, and, after a sophomore Daron Hoges, Jr. (West Orange, N.J.) hit a three, a 5-0 spurt by the Leopards gave the hosts an 18-16 lead with 3:39 left in the half.
Junior Drew Coveney (Londonderry, N.H.) hit a jumper with 35 seconds left in the half to give the Nor’Easters a 23-21 lead at the break.
Neither team scored for the first 3:47 of the second half, with the drought ending when senior Jean-Luc Parker (Georgetown, Texas) caused a turnover and went in for a fast-break layup.
Trailing 30-28 with just under 14 minutes remaining, Wentworth used a 9-2 run to take a 37-32 lead. All nine points were scored by junior Jason Ganley (Northbridge, Mass.).
UNE whittled the lead down and took a 38-37 lead with 5:41 left after a pair of free throws from Hoges, Jr. Freshman Matt Vartanian (Salem, N.H.) followed with two free throws to give the hosts a 39-38 lead, however sophomore Drew Patno (Lunenburg, Mass.) gave the Nor’Easters a 40-39 lead on the next possession with two free throws of his own.
Neither team was able to convert a field goal and, after a UNE miss, senior Dan Devaux (Wethersfield, Conn.) grabbed the rebound. With 38 seconds left the Leopards called a timeout. Kizel was fouled going to the basket with 28.5 seconds left and stepped up to hit both from the charity stripe to give Wentworth the lead. A missed layup gave the Leopards the ball back with 13 seconds left and Vartanian hit one of two free throws to extend the lead. A missed three pointer gave Wentworth the ball back with four seconds left and, with 2.3 second left, Vartanian hit two free throws to seal the win.
Knollmeyer had 12 points and seven rebounds while Ganley added 11 points and four rebounds. Vartanian finished with nine points and 11 rebounds. Kizel finished with five points and seven rebounds. Wentworth had a 56-42 rebounding advantage.
Senior Sam Thomas (Bedford, N.H.) and Hoges, Jr., each scored eight points for the Nor’Easters. Thomas also had eight rebounds.