By Matt Noonan
BEVERLY, MA – Trailing Endicott College by 17 points at halftime, Wentworth staged a late rally, but came up short, as the Gulls quietly exited their home gymnasium with a 69-62 victory on Thursday evening.
The win marks Endicott’s eighth overall, as well as third Commonwealth Coast Conference victory, too.
“We had quality possessions in the second half, [but] we rimmed out, we rimmed out, so they got a good quality feel for the game, and they were knocking down the shots that they needed to climb back in,” said Endicott College head coach Phil Rowe.
The head coach continued by saying, “As I told our guys before this game, Wentworth is the best team in the league right now, playing as a team, and they proved it [on Thursday].”
Endicott won the opening tip and built a 9-0 lead before Wentworth responded with a two pointer by junior Corey Therriault, (16 points, four rebounds, five assists) and trifecta from senior Eric Prue.
The Leopards eventually cut the lead to two points around the seven minute mark when Therriault sank a three-pointer before the Gulls defense produced a basket off Prue’s only turnover of the half, which sparked Endicott’s offense to tally 44 points before intermission.
Freshman John Henault (18 points, three rebounds, one steal) was a major contributor to the team’s first half point total, as he recorded nine points from the field, and sank seven baskets from the free throw line.
“He’s been huge,” said Rowe, when asked to describe the play of Henault.
Endicott continued their offensive dominance in the second half, as they earned their largest lead of the contest, 22-points, when sophomore Bennett Knowlton recorded a lay-up with 16 minutes remaining.
Wentworth called a timeout literally two minutes later, and stormed back with five three-pointers, and eight offensive rebounds, which ended up not being enough to defeat the Gulls.
“Sometimes we just lose focus a little a bit, but we stick together as a team, and just encourage each other, ‘play the next play,’ and that’s pretty much what we did [during] this game,” said Endicott College junior Lance Greene.
The Leopards missed back-to-back shots during the final minute, and sent Greene to the line, who would up sinking both free throws to help Endicott secure the win.
“They came back, and it came down to free throws, and obviously you’ve got to focus and hit those, and that’s pretty much what sealed the game,” said Greene.
Both teams will return to the hardwood on Saturday, as Endicott will host Curry College for a 1:00pm tip-off, while Wentworth will welcome Roger Williams for a 3:00pm contest.
“The league is very balanced, and truth be told, our team is pretty talented, but we’re just young, so we have to grow, and hopefully this well help us grow,” said Rowe.