WNE posts first CCC Tournament win since 2008
BEVERLY, Mass. (February 19, 2019) – The fifth-seeded Western New England University men's basketball team earned its first win in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament in over a decade with a 70-65 victory over fourth-seeded Endicott College in the quarterfinal round on Tuesday night at MacDonald Gymnasium.
With the win, Western New England (12-14) advances to Thursday's semifinal round to take on top-seeded Nichols College. Endicott's season comes to a close at 17-9.
Senior guard Mikey Pettway (Bridgeport, Conn.) was spectacular for Western New England, scoring a game-high 34 points on 14-of-21 shooting to go with a game-high 12 rebounds, three assists, one steal & one block.
Junior guard Mike McGuire (Garden City, N.Y.) was the only other Golden Bear to score in double figures, as he finished with 14 points and four rebounds.
Endicott was led by junior guard Keith Brown (Pelham, N.H.), who scored a team-high 23 points to go with six rebounds, three steals, two blocks & one assist. Junior guard Mathew Catizone (Woburn, Mass.) provided a spark off the bench with 18 points.
Western New England faced its only deficit of the contest in the opening minute of play, before a Pettway jumper at the 18:41 mark put the Golden Bears up 4-2.
Leading by one (11-10) five minutes later, Western New England posted a 7-0 run that included a three-pointer from Sikorski to extend its advantage to eight (18-10) with 11:47 left in the half.
Pettway scored eight straight points for the Golden Bears midway through the period as Western New England's lead grew to 14 points (28-14) with 7:09 to play. The Golden Bears went on to hold a 13-point cushion (34-21) at the break with the help of a strong defensive effort that limited the Gulls to 30.3 percent shooting over the opening 20 minutes of play.
A 6-0 run early in the second half gave Western New England its largest lead of the night (40-25), but Endicott slowly began to chip away at its deficit from there.
The Gulls got to within nine (44-35) after Catizone completed a three-point play at the 14:01 mark, before eventually closing the gap to four (44-40) when he connected from long range to cap an 8-0 run with 11:39 remaining.
Western New England responded with a 5-0 spurt to push its lead back to nine (49-40), however, and the Golden Bears led by the same margin (53-44) following a Pettway layup with just under eight minutes to go.
A McGuire triple had the visitors up eight (56-48) at the 6:28 mark, before a Pettway layup made it a nine-point game (62-53) three minutes later.
Endicott made one final push, as the Gulls utilized a 6-0 run to close the gap to three (62-59) with 1:52 on the clock.
Pettway knocked down a jumper to push the Western New England lead back to five, and after Brown answered with a layup for the Gulls, Tavitian finished inside to put the Golden Bears up five (66-61) with 51 seconds left.
Two Brown free throws with 30 seconds to play again made it a three-point contest, but Pettway went 2-for-2 at the charity stripe on the other end to extend the Golden Bear lead back to five.
Endicott's final basket came on a Brown layup with 18 seconds left, as Reilly knocked down a pair of clutch free throws late and Western New England got one final defensive stop to seal the win.
• Western New England's win marks the first for the Golden Bears in the CCC Tournament since the 2007-08 campaign, when WNE defeated the University of New England 69-60.
• The Golden Bears limited Endicott to 34.8% shooting, including 14.3% from three-point range.
• Western New England outrebounded Endicott 46-34, led by Pettway & Tavitian.