Late New England College Spurt Dooms No. 16 Men’s Basketball in Coghlin Tourney Opener

Dakota Wheeler

WORCESTER --- Izaiah Winston-Brooks (Roxbury, MA) highlighted a late 6-0 New England College run as the visiting Pilgrims upset No. 16 WPI 78-73 in the opening round of the fifth annual Ted Coghlin Memorial Men's Basketball Tournament Friday night inside Harrington Auditorium. 

It marked just the second loss in nine Coghlin Tournament games for the Engineers (1-1) and first in an opening round.  WPI will play Eastern Connecticut at 1pm Saturday in the consolation game while the Pilgrims (2-0) will face No. 10 Nichols at 3pm in the title tilt.  The Bison defeated the Warriors 74-56 in Friday's second match-up. 

Winston-Brooks broke a 68-68 tie with a driving layup with 1:44 left and, after a pair of free throws by Calvin Cheek (Mattapan, MA) with 1:19 to go, the senior put the guests up 74-68 following another driving layup with 53.2 seconds remaining. 

Junior Dakota Wheeler (Easthampton, MA) had a career night in points (18) and rebounds (17), achieving his first career double-double before intermission.  The junior was joined in double figures in scoring by Reid Walker (Tampa, FL), who tallied a game-best 20 points and Colin McNamara (Arlington, MA) and Garrett Stephenson (Townsend, MA) who both chipped in with 11.  Drew Plante (Swansea, MA) contributed eight of WPI's 10 bench points while Stephenson shared game-high assist honors with four. 

Winston-Brooks (19) and Cheek (18) combined for 37 points for New England College while Kareem Octavien (Cambridge, MA) added 16 points off the bench.  Winston-Brooks capped a strong all-around game with team-bests of eight rebounds and four steals. 

Neither team led by more than six points at any point in the contest.  As a team, NEC only turned the ball over 10 times and got to the free throw 32 times overall, including 26 times in the second half.  WPI enjoyed a 50-41 edge on the glass and in a statistically oddity, both teams posted identical field goal (24-for-65 - 36.9%) and 3-point (8-for-28 - 28.6%) shooting.    

Portions of recap written by Marissa Pereira '19 and '20

Bruton Pours in 17 Points to Propel Nichols Over Eastern Connecticut in WPI's Coghlin Tournament 

WORCESTER -- The Nichols College Bison (1-0) held off the Eastern Connecticut Warriors (0-1) in a 74-56 victory on the first day of WPI's Ted Coghlin Memorial Tournament. 

Nichols, ranked 10th in the Top 25 will meet New England College Saturday at 3pm for the championship.  Eastern Connecticut will face No. 16 WPI at 1pm in the consolation game.  The Pilgrims upset the host Engineers 78-73 earlier Friday evening. 

DeAnte Bruton (New London, CT) led the Bison in points (17) followed by teammates Jaekwon Spencer (Bristol, CT) and Matt Morrow (Leicester, MA) with 12 apiece.  Morrow also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.  

The Bison edged the Warriors 33-28 in the first half, highlighted by Bruton and Spencer with eight and seven points, respectively. 

Eastern Connecticut junior Cory Muckle (Westbrook, CT) led his team in points (13) followed by fellow junior Shawn Gashi (Syracuse, NY) and sophomore Thomas Close (East Hampton, CT) who registered 11 points each. Seth Thomas (Norwich, CT) had a team-high 11 rebounds for the Warriors. 

Nichols increased their lead in the second half to lead by 16 points, 46-30, before Close scored on a layup with 14:39 left in the frame. 

Eastern Connecticut continued to battle with 11 field goals in the second, but this was not enough to exceed the 17 that the Bison tallied to extend their lead further. 

Portions of recap written by Marissa Pereira '19 and '20