BRISTOL, R.I. – The Roger Williams University Men's Basketball team snapped a four-game skid and picked up its first victory of the New Year, a 76-65 win over Western New England University Saturday afternoon.
The win was also the team's first Commonwealth Coast Conference victory of the season, moving to 1-2 in conference play (2-8 overall). Western New England drops its fifth straight contest and moves to 2-7 overall (0-3 CCC).
Dennis Rinaldi (Harrison, N.Y.) began the contest with a three-point play to give WNE a quick 3-0 lead. The Golden Bears remained on top until a layup by Josh Syska (Peabody, Mass.) gave the Hawks a 10-9 advantage with 14:21 to play in the half.
The Hawks managed to extend the lead seven (18-11), its largest of the game on a Chris Bardwell (North Andover, Mass.) basket with 9:04 to go. Yet the Golden Bears managed to claw their way back into game, tying the game at 26 apiece on a Rinaldi jumper. Yet the Hawks close the half with a 6-2 run to take a 32-28 lead into halftime.
Early in the second half, the Hawks quickly turned a three-point lead into a 12-point advantage with nine consecutive points over a two-minute span. Joseph Henry (Medway, Mass.) knocked down a layup and a three-pointer followed by back-to-back jumpers for Bardwell.
Leading 46-34 with 15:11 left in the game, the Hawks used its double-digit lead to keep Western New England at bay. Western New England would come as close as six, but never seriously threatened the Hawks' lead. RWU managed to prevent the comeback and hold on for the win.
Bardwell finished with 18 points and five rebounds, while Zac Campbell (Woodbridge, Conn.) added 16 points and three steals. Ryan Palumbo (Warwick, R.I.) scored 16 points as well with six boards.
Rinaldi led all scorers with 21 points, along with six rebounds. Musa Elsir (Springfield, Mass.) finished with 15 points and four rebounds, while Nick DeFeo (Southington, Conn.) added 14 points, seven boards, and six assists.
Both teams are in action on Tuesday, as Roger Williams heads to Eastern Nazarene while Western New England hosts Gordon.