BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Junior forward Duaka Ekwensi (Morris Plains, N.J.) scored a career-high 30 points to lead the visiting Wheaton College men's basketball team to a 94-79 victory over Bridgewater State University on Tuesday night at the Tinsley Center.
The Lyons, who overcame as 13-point first half deficit, improve to 7-2 on the season, while the host Bears fall to 4-5 with their third straight setback. Wheaton is now 13-10 all-time against Bridgewater State including 8-3 at BSU.
Ekwensi connected on 10 of 12 field goals including a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range. He also went 7-for-8 at the free throw line and grabbed a team-best six rebounds.
Senior forward Liam Bruno (Newton, Mass.) added 14 points and five rebounds for the Lyons who had five players finish in double figures. Senior guard Ryan Fogarty (Walpole, Mass.) checked in with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists, while sophomore forward Ryan Tetreault (Walpole, Mass.) tallied 12 points and four boards and sophomore guard Robby Lowey (Foxboro, Mass.) notched ten points in 16 minutes off the bench.
Sophomore guard Ryan Carney (Easton, Mass.) paced Bridgewater State with a career-high 25 points on 10 of 14 shooting. Senior guard Rocky DeAndrade (Mansfield, Mass.) scored 21 points to go along with four assists as he finished 8-for-12 from the floor including 5-for-9 from behind the arc. Sophomore forward Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.) added 11 points and seven boards for the hosts, while senior forward Joseph Carty (Natick, Mass.) contributed eighth points and a game-high nine rebounds.
The Bears opened the game on a 9-2 run. Carney scored the first four points of the contest while DeAndrade capped it off the run with a three-pointer. The Lyons missed their first five shots before Ekwsensi converted a layup.
Trailing 14-5, Wheaton scored eight consecutive points, four from Lowey, to make it a one-point game (14-13) with just under 12 minutes remaining in the opening stanza.
After the Lyons tied the game at 17-17 on a Fogarty free throw, the Bears ripped off ten straight points including an emphatic alley-oop dunk by Ward which forced a Wheaton timeout.
Later in the period, a pair of three-pointers by Carney and one from DeAndrade helped the Bears extend their lead to 13, 36-23, with 5 ½ minutes left to play.
A late 9-2 Wheaton run, which included five points from Bruno, made it a six-point game (43-37) with under a minute remaining. Carney, who scored 16 points in the first half, knocked down a short jumper with 19 seconds left to account for the halftime tally of 45-37.
DeAndrade added 11 points in the opening stanza for the Bears who shot 56% (18-32) from the floor and 63% (5-8) from behind the arc over the first 20 minutes.
Ekwensi paced Wheaton with 12 first-half points as the Lyons shot 41% (13-32) from the floor and 30% (3-10) from behind the arc. Wheaton also converted 8 of 12 (67%) at the free throw line in the opening period.
Wheaton came out strong to start the second half as the Lyons outscored the Bears 24-9 over the first seven minutes. An uncontested Ekwensi layup tied the game up at 53-53 with 14:49 remaining in the game. Following a BSU free throw, Ekwensi drained a three-pointers to give the Lyons their first lead. An Ekwensi layup followed by a Fogarty three-pointer pushed the Lyons advantage to 61-54 and forced a Bridgewater timeout.
The Bears closed the gap to three, 63-60, on a Carney layup with 10:28 showing on the scoreboard, but that would be a close as they would get the rest of the way. The Lyons answered with a 13-3 run to take control of the game. Lowey and Bruno scored four points apiece during the game-changing spurt. Wheaton continued to pull away and got up by as many as 20 points (91-71) before settling for the 94-79 victory.
After scoring just 37 points over the first 20 minutes, Wheaton bounced back with a 57-point second half. The Lyons shot 60% (18-30) from the floor in the final stanza, including 5-for-9 from long range, and connected on 16 of 20 (80%) free throw attempts. Wheaton finished with just seven turnovers in the contest.
Bridgewater made just 12 of 30 (40%) field goal attempts in the second half and went 2-for-11 (18%) from three-point range.
In upcoming action, the Bears entertain Endicott College on Saturday afternoon at one, while the Lyons travel to Lasell College on Thursday night for a seven o'clock game with the Lasers.