NEW LONDON, Conn. – Western Connecticut State University edged out Mitchell College, 97-94, Tuesday night in a non-conference men's basketball tilt at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
The game was an offensive slugfest that featured 17 ties and 28 lead changes, with neither team leading by more than six the entire contest. Western Connecticut shot 48.7 percent as a team while Mitchell checked in at a season-high 57.4 percent.
Tyler Rowe led the Colonials (4-3 overall) with 22 points and added five assists. Rashard Rodriguez added 19 points while Geary McLeod had 15 on 7-for-8 shooting. Aaron Samuel rounded out the double-digit scorers for WCSU with 13 points off the bench.
Five Mitchell players scored in double figures led by 18 points apiece from Hasani Williams and Domenico Santiago, who also grabbed 13 and 12 rebounds, respectively, to record double-doubles. Brayvon Young chipped in 17 points and shot 4-for-7 from three-point range. Marvin Baker netted all 11 of his points in the first half while Mack Bertram-Gregory finished with 10 points and six assists.
Rodriguez got the Colonials off to a hot start, scoring eight of his team's first 12 points as the visitors went on top by four. He finished with four three-pointers in the half and led all scorers at the break with 16 points.
Baker gave the Mariners an offensive boost midway through the stanza, scoring all 11 of his points during a 3:19 stretch. Williams also netted 10 points by the break as Mitchell trailed 58-55 at intermission.
Western Connecticut took its largest lead at on a three-pointer by Rowe that made it 68-62 with 16:49 remaining. However, Mitchell responded with 10 straight points to take its biggest lead of the night. Young and Bertram-Gregory buried back-to-back threes to cap the run, which left the Mariners with a 72-68 advantage at the 14:34 mark.
The Colonials pulled back in front on a three by McLeod with 13:13 to go, and the lead changed hands 12 more times over the next nine minutes. Western Connecticut went ahead for good on a put-back dunk by Fenton Bradley Jr. with 3:53 to go, a bucket that sparked a 7-0 run that was bookended by a Samuel three.
Mitchell, which finished with 22 turnovers, had a chance to tie the game in the final moments. After Rowe buried a pair of free throws to give WCSU at 97-94 advantage with 11 seconds to play, the Mariners brought the ball up the floor looking for a shot from beyond the arc. A drive and kick to the wing resulted in a turnover, giving the ball back to the Colonials with just under two seconds remaining.
Mitchell (2-4 overall) will next host Albertus Magnus College on Thursday, December 7 at 6 p.m. Western Connecticut returns to action at UMass-Dartmouth on Saturday, December 9 at 3 p.m.