NEWPORT, R.I. - Sophomore Matt Clifford (Norwood, Mass.) scored nine of his team-high 15 points in the second half to help Roger Williams University rally back from a 13-point second-half deficit and defeat Salve Regina University 72-69 in non-conference men's basketball action Saturday afternoon at Rodgers Recreation Center.
Senior Taylor Petruccelli (Stanford, Conn.) added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Hawks, who have won two of the last three meetings between the schools and improved to 5-1 on the season. Senior Windell Hinkson (Groton, Conn.) poured in a game-high 21 points for the Seahawks, who dropped their second-straight game to fall to 3-3.
Hinkson knocked down his first five jumpers of the game - including four-straight from behind the arc - as the Seahawks raced out to a 30-17 lead in the first half. Freshman Alex La Rosa (Salem, N.H.) also connected on a pair of triples in an opening period which saw Salve Regina force nine turnovers and hit seven-of-nine from the charity stripe. The Hawks shot 44 percent (11-of-25) in the first half and closed the half on a 12-7 run to cut the SRU lead to single-digits at the half (37-29). Junior Gary Madison (Waterbury, Conn.) paved the way with eight points while Clifford and Petruccelli chipped in with six points each.
Hinkson's fifth three-pointer of the game with 9:34 remaining in the second half gave the Seahawks a 57-44 lead, but the Hawks outscored them 28-12 the rest of the way. Six-straight points from junior Patrick Flanagan (Somerville, Mass.) cut the Seahawks lead from 13 to seven, and a pair of free throws by senior Travis O'Dell (Brunswick, Maine) with 3:59 on the clock tied the game at 59. After Hinkson knocked down one of two from the line, sophomore Matt Grossbard (Pearl River, N.Y.) banged home his second three-pointer of the afternoon to put the Hawks in front for good, 62-60, with 3:40 to play. The Seahawks had one final possession trailing by three points with 16 ticks on the clock, but a long three-point attempt by Hinkson struck the back of the rim and fell to the floor.
"We got off to a good start and I thought our kids played really hard," said Salve Regina head coach Sean Foster. "We didn't execute down the stretch when we needed to offensively or defensively. I thought we sent Roger Williams to the line quite a bit and gave up a lot of open shots. We need a better defensive effort in order to win close games, but they made some plays when they needed to. It was a great effort on their part today."
Roger Williams shot 44.6 percent (25-of-56) from the field and outrebounded the home team 47-41. The Seahawks finished the game shooting at a 33.3 percent clip (24-of-72) and held a 13-10 edge in turnovers.
Grossbard was the third RWU student-athlete in double-figures as he finished with 10 points. Flanagan dropped in 12 points and snared seven rebounds in 20 minutes of action. For the Seahawks, senior Dan Royce (Mahwah, N.J.) finished with 10 points and six rebounds while classmate Ryan Birrell (Hope, R.I.) nearly posted a triple-double with nine points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Salve Regina returns to action on Tuesday when they host in-state rival Rhode Island College at 7:30 p.m. The Hawks host Wesleyan on Tuesday at 7 p.m.