DANBURY, CT – Despite a team-high 22 points from junior forward Rashard Rodriguez (Trumbull, CT), the Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team fell to 11th-ranked cross-state rival Eastern Connecticut, 106-82, in a Little East Conference matchup on Wednesday night at the O'Neill Center's Feldman Arena. With the loss, the Colonials dropped to 13-11 overall and 8-5 in league play, while the Warriors improved to 21-3 and 12-1.
Rookie guard Legend Johnson (Waterbury, CT) and senior Eli Rodriguez (Bristol, CT) chipped in with 16 and 11 points, respectively, for WestConn while freshman Shea Tracy (New Britain, CT) dished out a team-high six assists.
Six players netted double figures for the visitors. Senior guard Kendall Marquez (Willimantic, CT) led the way with a game-high 26 (22 in the first half via five shots from downtown), while classmate guard Tarchee Brown (Rockville, CT) added 18 and a game-high eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Carlos Gomez (Springfield, MA) contributed 12 points, while dishing out a game-high eight dimes.
"They are the best team in our conference for a reason and they showed it tonight. We need to get over it quickly and prepare for Saturday," said WestConn head coach Jason Harlow following the loss.
The Warriors came out of the gate on fire, erupting to hit their first nine shots from the field en route to a 32-12 first half advantage. The Colonials would answer, slicing the margin to 12 when Johnson hit a layup while being hacked and then converted the free throw. However, the Warriors struck right back, outscoring the hosts 18-9 to seize a 61-40 halftime lead.
The Colonials fought hard in the second half as they were only outdone by three points.
WestConn returns to action for its regular season finale at UMass-Boston on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. They will then host an opponent to be determined in the LEC Tournament Quarterfinals on Tuesday.