LA PLUME, PA – Senior forward Aaron Samuel (Stratford, CT) tallied game-highs of 20 points and eight rebounds as the Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team upended non-conference opponent Keystone College, 73-61, on Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Colonials improved to 7-3 overall and have now won five of their last six, while the Giants dropped to 0-8.
Senior forward Rashard Rodriguez (Trumbull, CT) added 14 points, six boards and a pair of blocked shots, while junior forward Fenton Bradley Jr. (Mansfield, CT) chipped in with 10 points for the Colonials.
Junior Ray Mills led the Giants with 17 points off the bench, while classmate Javonte Matthews poured in 10.
"Coming off of finals we had a slow start," stated WestConn head coach Guy Rancourt. "We did a much better job settling down and executing in the second half," he concluded.
The visitors jumped out to an early 18-5 lead. Bradley Jr. finished off the spurt with an elbow jumper off a Geary McLeod (New London, CT) feed from the top of the key.
The Colonials would maintain a large advantage the remainder of the opening half, taking a 37-29 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The hosts rallied in the second half, slicing the deficit to 49-47 when Matthews connected from underneath. However, the visitors built the lead back up to seven when junior forward Tracy Cleckley Jr. (Rosedale, NY) sealed a pair from the charity stripe.
The Giants would not go away, shrinking the deficit to just two points yet again when Jalen Flynn hit the second of two free throw attempts, making it 56-54 with 6:16 remaining.
However, WestConn retaliated with a 17-5 run. Rodriguez capped the barrage with a three-pointer from the left wing off a drive-and-dish from Samuel.
The Colonials get a lengthy layoff before returning to action against visiting non-league foe New York University on Sunday, December 30 at 7:30 p.m.