STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Bridgewater State College captured the 6th Annual Tournament of Heroes championship, beating Whitworth University by an 88-75 margin at the College of Staten Island this afternoon. Visiting Richard Stockton College took the third place consolation contest, beating host CSI, 97-77.
An overtime winner over CSI yesterday, Bridgewater State used a hot shooting touch from the floor, coupled with an opportunistic defense to gather the victory. The Bears never trailed in the second half after wrestling the lead away from the Pirates in the mid stages of the first stanza. Whitworth led by as many as five points, when a Ryan Symes jumper gave the Pirates an 18-13 lead with 13:14 left in the frame.
From there, BSC went on an 8-0 run, all by the hands of Roland Millien, and the Bears took over, up 21-18, with 10:59 to go. Another modest 8-4 run at 3:43 to go gave the Bears their biggest lead of the half, 38-28, and the momentum swung to intermission with the Bears leading 42-34.
A Colin Willemsen layup cut the BSC lead to five, 45-40, with 16:58 to go in the second half, but the Bears had an answer, storming to a 25-9 run over the next seven minutes to essentially put the game out of reach, 70-49. Whitworth tried to play catch-up, but the unit never cut the lead to fewer than 11 the rest of the way.
The winners got a superior effort from the Tournament MVP Millien, who bagged 23 points, 10 rebounds and five steals. Fellow All-Tournament teamers Tom Cuddihy (24 points, 4 assists) and Judah Jackson (20 points) also shared double-digit honors in scoring. Whitworth was led by Symes' 18 markers, as he also earned All-Tournament honors.
Cuddihy moved into 11th place on the Bears' all-time scoring list as he now has 1,273 career points. He surpassed David Rukstalis who netted 1,271 points from 2002 to 2006.
With the tournament championship, Bridgewater State improved to 4-6 on the season, while Whitworth fell to 5-2.