CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The Pine Manor College men's basketball team handed Daniel Webster College their first loss of the 2016-17 season with a 75-69 victory, Thursday evening. Junior guard Taverick Roberson (Pittsfield, Mass.) led all scorers netting 21 points.
It was a highly physical battle that featured seven first half lead changes including four in the opening five minutes of play. After sophomore guard Erick Rosario and junior forward Curtis Hyman (New Britain, Conn.) erased a one-point deficit and gave the Gators a three-point, 6-3, lead with back-to-back buckets, the Eagles answered with a 7-0 run. Daniel Webster junior forward Jaquan Harrison (Windsor, Conn.) closed out the run with a lay-up and a mid-range jumper within 27 seconds of one another to put the Eagles on top 10-6.
The lead did not last for very long as the Gators responded with an identical 7-0 run of their own. Pine Manor took full advantage of a new Eagle line-up on the floor. Just over midway through the half, Rosario connected with Roberson in the paint to knot up the score at 10. A minute-and-a-half later, sophomore center Josh Gause (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) closed out the run with a lay-up to pull out in front, 13-10.
Daniel Webster never regained the lead for the remained of the first half building their largest lead of the half, 31-20 with 3:50 remaining on the game clock. The Gators dominated the offensive-glass in the first half out-scoring the Eagles, 10-8, in second chance points while also out-scoring the Eagles in points off turnovers by a large margin, 11-5.
However, the Eagles were resilient, clinging to life on the back of junior Marquise Caudill's (Windsor, Conn.) team-high 10 points in the first half as the Gators went in to the locker room with the 39-32 lead.
When the teams emerged from the locker room, the Gators remained on top for the first minute. Daniel Webster senior forward Ray Farmer (Nashua, N.H.) opened the half with a lay-up to cut the deficit to five but the Gators pulled back ahead by seven when sophomore center Ellis Reid (Hartford, Conn.) connected with Gause. Moments later Reid came up big with a steal leading directly to a Roberson lay-up to increase the Gator lead to nine, 43-34.
However, the winds of momentum appeared to blow over towards the Eagle bench. Ray connected with fellow senior guard Angelo Adon (Silver Spring, Md.) at the perimeter to spark an 11-0 run to take the 45-43 lead. Despite some jostling as the Gators came back to tie it at 45 on a lay-up by Roberson with 14:46 remaining, momentum clearly favored the Eagles, extending their lead to as many as seven points, 58-51 with 8:30 left.
The Gators made their move with 4:44 remaining on the clock. Trailing by five, 62-57, following a made lay-up by sophomore guard Tevon Smallpiece (Dorchester, Mass.), sophomore guard Tommy Organ (Moorestown, N.J.) committed a costly foul. At the line for two shots, Roberson knocked down the two free throws and ignited a 6-0 run to take the 63-62 lead.
Although the Eagles came back to tie it at 63 after Harrison netted one of two from the charity stripe, the Gators still had all the momentum on their side. Roberson pushed the Gators back up with long-range trey while Rosario extended the lead to five, 68-63, with a lay-up before Eagle third year Head Coach Donald Morris called a time-out. But Pine Manor held on for the victory knocking down five-of-six from the charity stripe to earn their fifth victory of the season.
Pine Manor improves to 5-3 while Daniel Webster falls to 3-1. The Gators return to the hard-court Monday December 5th when they travel to Nashua, N.H. for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off against Rivier University. The Eagles will be back in action this Saturday December 3rd when they return to New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) play hosting Regis College at 3:00 p.m.