Gulls grind out 68-61 decision over Nor'easters

More news about: University of New England
BIDDEFORD, Maine -- Endicott College withstood an early 2nd-half run by the University of New England and made enough plays down the stretch to secure a 68-61 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) men's basketball victory on Wednesday evening (Feb. 10) at the Harold Alfond Forum.

The Gulls (13-9) move to 10-5 in league play with a third straight win, while the Nor'easters slip back to 11-11 overall and 6-9 in the CCC.

Daquan Sampson collected a double-double for the visitors, with 15 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks. Max Motroni added 13 points and both Kamahl Walker and Rob O'Brien chipped in with 10.

For UNE, Gavin Dibble registered 12 of his game-high 17 points after halftime. Devin Thompson had eight of his 12 points in the closing frame, as well, as Big Blue shot 45 percent from the floor as a team. Tom Nason came off the bench to tally nine points.

EC held a 30-25 cushion at the break with the Nor'easters shooing 29 percent from the field, but UNE raced into the 2nd period with an 11-0 spurt in 3:12. Dibble had five and Nason four in the stretch.

Twice the Nor'easters got a three-point play to restore the six-point edge (40-34, 43-37), and the spread was still five (48-43) in favor of the hosts until a 12-2 run by the Gulls turned things around with 4:24 to go.

A bucket from Motroni put Endicott up 58-52, only to see UNE's CJ Autry knock down a pair of free throws, steal the next possession and get fouled again, and drain two more freebies to slice the gap to 58-56 with 2:11 remaining.

EC missed a shot and committed another foul, however UNE came up empty on both tries. Motroni nailed a trey on the ensuing trip (1:23) to establish a 61-56 advantage for the Gulls, and Sampson tacked on a put-back with 33 seconds left to all but seal it.

Endicott converted 13 of 17 free throws in the final 20 minutes, whlie the Nor'easters went 7-for-15 at the charity stripe.

The Gulls assumed their largest padding of the contest at 19-9 of the 1st (8:38), largely behind to five triples -- two each from Sampson and O'Brien. UNE's next possession featured four offensive boards and ended with a pair at the line to start chipping away at the deficit. Nason had five in a 12-3 span that pulled the home team to within one (22-21).

The Nor'easters head for Roger Williams University (7-8 CCC) on Saturday (3 p.m.).