Stallings, Bruton power Bison past Endicott, 92-87

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DUDLEY, Mass. – Senior captain Devin Stallings (Waterbury, Conn.) scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half to rally the Nichols College men's basketball team to a 92-87 win over Endicott College in Commonwealth Coast Conference men's basketball action Wednesday night at the Nichols Athletic Center.
The 6-4 forward scored 11-straight points for the Bison in a span of 2:14 late in the second half, and also pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds in 29 minutes of action. Freshman DeAnte Bruton (New London, Conn.) poured in a career-high 38 points (14-of-29 FG) – 29 of which came in the first half – while sophomore Marcos Echevarria (Lynn, Mass.) came alive in the second half, scoring 13 of his 18 points in the stanza. Junior Daequon Antoine (Fort Mill, S.C.) came off the bench to contribute nine points and six rebounds.
Senior Kamahl Walker (Worcester, Mass.) paced the Gulls with 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting, and also recorded seven rebounds and four assists. Classmate Daquan Sampson (Germantown, Md.) filled the stat sheet with 18 points – including four 3-pointers – to go with six rebounds while senior Max Motroni (West Warwick, R.I.) made 8-of-9 from the charity stripe and finished with 10 points.
The win pulls the Bison into a first-place tie with the Gulls, however Nichols currently holds the tiebreaker and would serve as the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament if the playoffs began today. Nichols has three games remaining in the regular season and would secure the top seed if they win all three.
The game was tied at 12 seven minutes into the first half before a three from Echevarria and a layup from Antoine gave the Bison a 17-12 lead. Following a 7-0 run by the Gulls to tie the game, a rebound and dunk from freshman Jerome Cunningham (Westbury, N.Y.) allowed the Bison to grab a 33-24 lead with 6:04 on the clock.
A pair of baskets from Bruton gave the home team their largest lead of the contest at 39-27, and the Bison carried a nine-point lead into the half (48-39). Bruton knocked down 11-of-19 from the field and led all scorers while Walker collected 18 points to lead Endicott. Nichols held a 23-17 edge on the glass and shot 49 percent while the Gulls made 43 percent of their shots.
Endicott opened the second half on a 14-5 run to tie the game at 53, highlighted by a pair of triples from Sampson. Nichols regained the lead on a three-pointer from Antoine, and soon opened up a nine-point lead after Echevarria knocked down two free throws at the 7:51 mark. The Gulls responded with a 12-1 run and took a two-point lead with 4:11 to go, the final five points coming from the line.
Stallings took over the game from there, first making a layup to tie the game at 80, then rattling home back-to-back three-pointers to give the Bison an 86-84 lead with 2:14 on the clock. After Motroni made a pair of free throws at the other end to tie the game, Stallings drove the lane and threw down a two-handed dunk to once again give the Bison the lead. He was fouled on the play and made the ensuing free throw, and two free throws from Echevarria with 18 ticks on the clock put NC up 91-87.
The Bison closed the contest outrebounding the Gulls 45-38 and shot 44 percent for the contest – including 85 percent from the free throw line (17-of-20). The Gulls connected on 43 percent of their shots and knocked down 19 of their 24 attempts from the line.
All-Time Series
Today's contest marked the 27th all-time meeting between Endicott College and Nichols College. The Bison now trail the all-time series, 17-10.
Next Games
Nichols (17-5, 12-3 CCC) – Saturday, February 11 @ Salve Regina, 3:00 p.m.
Endicott (17-5, 12-3 CCC) – Saturday, February 11 vs Roger Williams, 3:00 p.m.