DANBURY, CT – Junior guard Tyler Rowe (East Hartford, CT) netted a game-high 20 points, while classmate Eli Rodriguez (Bristol, CT) added seven and a game-high 14 rebounds to lead the Western Connecticut State University men's basketball squad to a 77-67 win over visiting non-conference foe Elms College on Monday Night at the O'Neill Center's Feldman Arena. With the victory, the Colonials improved to 11-8 as they have now won six of their last seven. The Blazers fell to 1-17.
Junior Aaron Samuel (Stratford, CT) added 15 points, while rookie Legend Johnson (Waterbury, CT) finished with 13 for the hosts. Sophomore guard DeAngelo Cousar (Bowie, MD) paced the visitors with 19 points, while classmate Greg Metelus (Palm Beach, FL) chipped in with a double-double on 10 points and 10 rebounds.
WestConn shot 48.1% (26-of-54) from the field while Elms finished at a 39.4% (26-of-66) clip. The Colonials held staggering advantages in rebounds, 44-30, and free throws 21-6.
"We have a chance to be a really good team but we can't turn it on-and-off like that. We need to be consistent if were expect to compete with teams like Eastern and Keene," said WestConn head coach Jason Harlow following the victory. "Take nothing away from Elms. They played a solid game tonight," he continued.
The game started with a thunderous dunk from sophomore forward Fenton Bradley Jr. (Mansfield, CT) off a pretty feed from Eli Rodriguez. The Colonials pulled ahead 24-10 when Samuel buried a three-pointer midway through the first half.
However, the Blazers would retaliate, cutting the lead to 26-23 when Cousar hit a midrange jumper before eventually seizing a 35-34 lead when he connected yet again just before halftime.
The Colonials opened up the second stanza similar to how they began the first. Rowe threaded a pass to Bradley Jr. for an easy layup to put the hosts on top, 46-37. But the visitors responded yet again. This time with a 10-2 run, slicing the deficit to just one point with 13:03 left to play.
WestConn would stretch the gap to five when Johnson knocked down a jumper, assisted by Rowe. Shortly thereafter, the Colonials tallied five offensive rebounds that seemed to wear out the Blazers. The remaining five minutes was all WestConn as they managed to hold off Elms.
The Colonials return to action for yet another non-league tilt when they meet visiting Connecticut College on Wednesday at 7 p.m.