BOSTON, Mass. – Senior Colin Johnson (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) scored all of his game-high 15 points in the second half to help the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's basketball team erase a nine-point halftime deficit and defeat the University of New England, 48-45.
Neither team could get its offense going in the early stages as the two clubs combined to miss their first 12 shots. The Nor'Easters broke that on a freshman Mitch Loeman (Freeport, Maine) basket with 13:51 left and held an 8-2 lead before the Leopards finally hit a field goal – on their 13th attempt – when sophomore John-Michael Fragnoli (Scotia, N.Y.) hit a layup with 10:38 left in the half.
Loeman scored four of UNE's six points during a stretch that extended a four-point lead to 10 with 5:53 left before senior Matt Harte (Troy, N.Y.) hit a basket and junior Derek Mayo (Casco, Maine) recorded four straight points to cut the lead back to four.
Leading by four with 1:44 left in the half, the Nor'Easters got a 3-pointer from junior Charles Fenner III (Bronx, N.Y.) and a basket from Loeman just before the half expired to take a 29-20 lead at the break. UNE shot 50 percent from the floor in the opening half and held the hosts to 31.7 percent.
The Leopards opened the second half on an 13-2 run, tying the game at 31-all on a Johnson 3-pointer before freshman Cam Sennick (Wilton, Maine) gave the Black & Gold a 33-31 lead with two free throws. After UNE freshman Jesse Dykstra (Douglas, Mass.) tied the game with two free throws of his own, the Leopards scored nine of the next 11 points and took a 42-35 lead on a Johnson shot from behind the arc.
Freshman Devin Thompson (Winthrop, Mass.) brought the visitors back in the game by scoring the next five points, and, after a Johnson basket, hit two more free throws to make it a 44-42 game with 3:17 left. UNE pulled within one on a Dykstra layup with 39 seconds left, but Mayo answered down the other end t push the lead back to three.
With 14 seconds left, Thompson missed the first of two free throws and a lane violation was called on UNE, giving Wentworth the ball. However, a turnover gave the Nor'Easters the ball back and sophomore Jake Abel (Fairfield, Calif.) hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to two. Mayo was fouled after grabbing the rebound and hit one of two free throws before Harte grabbed the offensive rebound off the miss to seal the win.
In addition to his 15 points, Johnson had six rebounds, and three steals, while Mayo had 11 points. Fragnoli had seven rebounds and a pair of blocks and Harte finished with six caroms. The Leopards held the Nor'Eastersn to 16.7 percent shooting in the second half and had a 32-26 rebounding edge.
Thompson led UNE with 15 points, while Loeman had 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Fenner finished with seven points, six rebounds, and a pair of steals.
The win snaps a two-game losing streak for the Black & Gold, who improve to 10-5 overall and 6-4 in league play. It also marks the eighth straight season the Leopards have eclipsed the 10-win mark. UNE falls to 3-14 (2-8). Both teams are in action on Saturday as Wentworth is at Eastern Nazarene and UNE hosts Salve Regina.