WILLIMANTIC, CT – Despite a game-high 21 points from junior guard Tyler Rowe East Hartford, CT), the Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team fell at 17th-ranked cross-state rival Eastern Connecticut, 88-80, in a Little East Conference matchup on Wednesday night. With the loss, the Colonials dropped to 9-8 overall and 6-2 in league play, while the Warriors improved to 16-2 and 8-0.
Four players notched double figures in scoring for Eastern with Tarchee Brown leading the way with 20. The difference maker came from the charity stripe as the hosts sank 20-of-32 free throws, while WestConn knocked down a higher percentage en route to their 14 from the line.
"Our guys hung in there. Eastern showed why they are champions, they made the plays down the stretch. Tarchee Brown made some big plays for them," said WestConn head coach Jason Harlow following the loss. "We have to lick our wounds and get ready for Saturday," he added.
The contest was close much of the opening half. Curtin would drain a three-pointer, deadlocking the count at 36-36 before the Warriors tallied the next five, good for a 41-36 advantage at the break.
Eastern would gradually build up a solid lead in the second stanza. Tarchee buried a jumper to give the hosts its largest lead, 70-57, with 9:16 remaining. The Colonials would cut the deficit to just five points with free throws on two separate occasions. However, the Warriors answered each time as they were able to hold on for the victory.
WestConn returns to action for yet another LEC tilt when they meet visiting UMass-Dartmouth on Saturday at 3 p.m.