Western claims second-staight OT win, 108-105 against Keene State

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The Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team overcame a 14-point second half deficit, behind 37 points from senior DaQuan Brooks (Atlanta, GA), to defeat Little East Conference rival Keene State, 108-105, Saturday afternoon at Feldman Arena.

Also scoring in double figures for Western were Junior Sean Mobilio (Seymour, CT) with 19 points, senior Michael Kennedy (Newtown, CT) with 13 points, and senior Gary Robinson (Torrington, CT) and freshman Luis Bridtter (Stamford, CT) who each added 10 points. 

Kennedy completed a double-double by pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds for the Colonials.

Junior Ryan Martin (Wayne, ME) led Keene State with 28 points on 10-16 shooting, followed by freshman Ollie Hunter (Bedford, NH) with 26 points, junior Eric Fazio (Hopewell, Junction, NY) with 17 points, and juniors Rashad Wright (Aawam, MA) and Anthony Mariano (Naugatuck, CT) who each scored 12. 

Hunt also handed out a game-high six assists.

With 1:50 left in overtime, junior Ryan Pelletier (Wolcott, CT) hit a three pointer putting Western up by one point, 104-103.

The Colonials were able to extend their lead to three points on free throws by Brooks and Bridtter, giving Western a 108-103 lead with seven seconds left in the game.

A last minute rush down the court proved to be futile for Owls as their final shot fell short as the buzzer sounded, sending Western to its second win over the Owls this season, and its second OT win of the week.

Both teams started the game hot, converting on each of their first two possessions respectively as the first couple minutes saw the lead swing both ways.

At the 18:02 mark, Western gained the early advantage, jumping out to a seven point lead, 13-6.  The Owls however answered right back three minutes later tying the game at 18-18, and then regaining the lead with 14:00 remaining in the half.

The game then bounced back and forth for the next several minutes with both teams sharing the lead. Then with 10:52 left in the half, Martin hit one of his two three pointers on the night, putting Keene State up by three, 33-30, a lead they would hold onto until well into the second half.

The remainder of the half belonged to the Owls as they found a rhythm offensively and slowly increased their lead to as many as 13, 53-40 at the 5:49 mark.

The Colonials responded toward the end of the half, decreasing the Keene State lead to six points, 55-61, as both teams headed to the locker room.

The second half began much like the first half ended, with the Owls in control, extending their lead to 14 points, 73-59 with 16:37 left to play.

Inspired by their comeback win just four nights earlier, Western continued to battle. Led again by Brooks, the Colonials began to chip away at the Owls lead and with 9:24 left in the game, tied the score at 81-81 on a layup by Mobilio.

The game returned to its see-saw nature down the stretch as both teams battled to keep the game within one or two possessions.

With 1:01 left, Robinson hit two free throws putting Western up by two points, 99-97. Keene State would answer right back with a jumper by Hunter with .37 seconds left in regulation, tying the game at 99-99.

In a replay of the final seconds of Tuesday night's game versus Eastern, Brooks once again found himself with the ball for the final shot. This time fate wasn't on his side, as his 3-pointer rimmed out and then was tipped out of bounds as time expired, sending everyone into overtime for the second straight game.

Overtime proved to be much like the final minutes of regulation with both teams matching each other offensively, with Keene State gaining the early advantage on two shots by Martin. Western took its first OT lead on Pelletier's three, and sealed the victory with free throws in the final minute for a 108-105 final margin.

For the game, Western held a 36-34 advantage in rebounds and finished the afternoon shooting 45.1% from the floor and 78.6% from the line. Keene State finished the afternoon shooting 58.3% and 87.9%, respectively.

With the win, Western improves to 19-4 (9-3 in the LEC) on the season while Keene State falls to 18-5 (10-2). 

The Colonials return to action on Tuesday, February 14th, when they travel to play Little East Conference rival Rhode Island College. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30pm.