DANBURY, CT - Junior guard Ronald Jefferson (Brooklyn, NY) scored a team-high 14 points, but the Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team closed out the year with a 64-53 loss to visiting New York University at Feldman Arena on Sunday night.
Jefferson was the only Colonial to score in double figures as the rest of the starting five were held to a total of 17 points on 5-of 24 shooting from the field. Sophomore Legend Johnson (Waterbury, CT) came off the bench for WestConn to score nine points while senior Aaron Samuel (Stratford, CT) added seven points in the loss.
NYU, now 5-5 on the season, was led by freshman reserve guard Alex Casieri's (Deerfield, IL) 16 points. Jimmy Martinelli (Glenview, IL) added 14 points for the Violets while Dom Cristiano (Valhalla, NY) and Jule Brown (Ardmore, PA) chipped in 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Cristiano and Martinelli combined for 23, 12 and 11, respectively, of the Violet's 44 rebounds on Sunday.
NYU raced out to a 5-0 lead on back-to-back jumpers by Jule before one minute had elapsed in the contest.
WestConn, now 7-4, shook off a little rust that had built up since its last game back on December 15, and scored 10 of the game's next 11 points to take an 11-6 lead following a three-pointer by Tracy Cleckley, Jr. (Rosedale, NY) with 14:25 remaining in the first half.
A traditional three-point play by Jefferson gave the Colonials their biggest lead of the game, nine points at 21-12 with 6:58 left before intermission.
The two teams went into the break knotted at 28-28. It was one of eight deadlocks on the the night.
A short jumper by Cristiano with 7:59 left in the game gave the Violets a 43-41 lead and the visitors led the rest of the way.
WestConn outscored NYU, 24-10 in the paint and converted 16 more points off turnovers on Sunday. However, it struggled from the field, connecting on just 29% (18-of-63) of its attempts from the floor, including hitting just 3-of-20 tries from beyond the arc.
The Violets shot 40% (16-of-40) from the field and were 22-of-36 from the free-throw line.
The Colonials play host to University of St. Joseph (CT) on Wednesday, January 2. The Blue Jays are now coached by Hall of Famer and former UConn mentor Jim Calhoun. All WestConn regular-season basketball games are free and open to the public.