CHESTNUT HILL, MA – Despite game-highs of 25 points, five assists and six steals from junior guard Geary McLeod (Meriden, CT), the Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team was edged at non-conference opponent Pine Manor College, 96-91, on Sunday afternoon. Junior guard Tyler Rowe (East Hartford, CT) chipped in with 20 points, while classmate forward Rashard Rodriguez (Trumbull, CT) and sophomore guard Evan Curtin (Portland, CT) added 15 and 10, respectively for the Colonials.
Pine Manor guard Jamel Hamans paced the hosts with 21 points, while four more players finished with double figures at Brunelli Court. The Gators controlled the rebound advantage, 45-32, which led to a commanding lead in second chance points, 32-9.
The hosts began the game with an 18-10 run capped off with an offensive putback from Makai Hunter off a missed three-pointer. The Colonials responded with a spurt of their own as Curtin nailed a trifecta, giving the visitors a 21-20 edge midway through the first half. The Gators retaliated to take a 42-34 lead before Rodriguez sank a pair of free throws, slicing the deficit to 42-36 at halftime.
The Colonials would cut the lead to just one point twice in the second stanza. Curtin buried another three-pointer to cut it to 71-70. Pine Manor answered with a trifecta before McLeod struck back with one from beyond the arc to make it 74-73. That was as close as WestConn would get, however, as the Gators reeled off a 12-3 run late in the half en route to seal the victory.
With the loss, the Colonials dropped to 1-3 overall, while Pine Manor improved to 2-3. WestConn returns to action for a non-league tilt against visiting Trinity on Thursday at 7 p.m.