Newbury's Second Half Comeback Falls Short against Wheelock

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BROOKLINE, Mass. – On a snowy Saturday afternoon, a late second half comeback fell short for the Newbury College men's basketball team as they fell to Wheelock College, 84-81, in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action. 

The Wildcats' offense opened the game strong. First year forward Dejuan Rodriguez (New Britain, Conn.) dominated the paint netting 17 points while junior forward Anthony Williams(White Plains, N.Y.) followed up with 12 points as Wheelock to a 44-32 lead into the locker room.

Trailing by 12 points when they returned to the floor, the Nighthawks did not back down, clawing their way back into the game.  Sophomore guard Jeduan Langston (Roxbury, Mass.) ignited a 15-4 run to open the second half and pull the Nighthawks to within one point of the lead, 48-47, and force the Wildcats to call their first timeout of the half.

Coming out of the timeout, the Wildcats were re-energized and jumped back on top by eight, 55-47. For the next seven minutes the Wildcats had the game in hand and momentum on their side but it did not stop the Nighthawks from chasing their way back into the ball-game.

With seven minutes remaining on the clock, junior guard Ceejae Carter (Dorchester, Mass.) tied up the contest for the first time since early in the first half. After knocking down a lay-up to bring the Nighthawks to within one, 70-69, he converted the three-point play and tie up the game at 70.

But the Wildcats' transition game was too strong. Junior guard Nicholas Fenton (East Hartford, Conn.) shifted into another gear, barreling through the Nighthawk defense to put the Wildcats back up by two. It was common occurrence for the Wildcats over the next four minutes.

After junior guard Joshua Oliver (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) knotted up the game at 72 two minutes later, Williams came through on the transition to put the Wildcats up by two, 74-72, once again.

Wheelock pulled ahead by four, 76-72 but the Nighthawks continued to hang around. Down by two, 76-74, Langston bruised his way to tie up the score at 76 with lay-up but Fenton put the Wildcats back on top by one, knocking down one of two from the charity stripe.

The Wildcats extended their lead to four, 82-78, with under two minutes remaining but the Nighthawks were not going away. Carter found Oliver at the perimeter for three to cut the deficit to one but Williams answered with a lay-up in post with just over a minute to go.

Over the next minute, the Carter forced two turnovers to keep the Nighthawks in the contest. Sophomore forward Louis Neals' (Manchester, Conn.) near-side, game-tying, three-point attempt with one second left on the game clock dropped short of the rim as time expired.

Langston finished the game with a game-high 26 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double while Carter followed up with 18 points – 15 in the second half. Senior guard Dallas Serrano(Valley Stream, N.Y.) rounded out the Nighthawks in double figures with 13 points while pacing the offense with five assists.

Williams led four Wildcats in double digits tallying 26 points while pulling down 10 rebounds. Rodriguez followed up with 19 points while Fenton netted 16  of his own. Sophomore guardLawrence Christmas (Garner, N.C.) rounded out the Wildcats win double figures with 10 points.

Newbury falls to 2-14 and 1-7 in conference play while Wheelock improves to 5-10 and 3-4 in the NECC. The Nighthawks travel to Mitchell College on Tuesday January 26th when they tip-off against the Mariners at 6:00 p.m. The Wildcats will also be in action Tuesday evening when they host Becker College at 7:00 p.m. 

Game Notes: 

The game was dominated the front court with both teams combined to score 78 points in paint with Nighthawks edging out the Wildcats, 46-32...The Nighthawks outscored the Wildcats, 49-40 in the second half...