Warriors overcome late deficit with nine straight points in 84-79 victory
WILLIMANTIC,Conn. - In a game which featured 12 ties and ten lead changes, the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team scored its final five points from the free throw line to post an 84-79 victory over Connecticut College Tuesday night at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
At right: Joe Ives
Eastern (3-1) scored 13 points on its seven offensive rebounds in the second half to overcome a three-point halftime deficit and defeat Conn College (1-3) for the fourth straight time and seventh time in the last nine contests.
Four Eastern double-digit scorers - led by senior guard Joe Ives' (Avon) career-high 23 - was enough to offset the offensive heroics of Conn junior guard Matt Vadas. Vadas poured in 33 points on a selection of short and long-range jumpers. Vadas, who was 11-for-23 from the floor (4-for-10 from three-point range) and 7-for-7 from the line, connected on 20 of his points in the second half. Junior guard Tyrone Turner came off the bench to toss in 16 for Conn (6-for-8 form the floor) - 12 coming in the second half.
Trailing by two points with just under two minutes left, Eastern responded with nine straight points to pull away. Two offensive rebounds by sophomore guard Brandon Yarborough (Stamford) led to inside buckets in that stretch, and senior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) and Ives combined for five free throws over the final 34.4 seconds to nail down the win.
With Eastern trailing by two in the final minutes, Yarborough missed after grabbing the offensive rebound of Ives' three-pointer, but senior forward Mike Garrow (Terryville) followed with a board and putback to even the score at 77. Following a rare miss by Vadas, Ives pulled down the rebound and moments later, Yarborough was there to clean up Garrow's misfire and give the Warriors the lead for good, 79-77, with just under a minute left.
Ives was 5-for-9 from the floor (4-for-7 from three-point range) and 9-for-10 from the foul line en route to his career-high total, while Robitaille had his second straight double-double with 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, along with three blocked shots. Junior guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) kept Eastern in contention in the first half by converting all three of his three-point field goals and 13 total points over the first 20 minutes. He also had five rebounds and four assists. Garrow finished with 14 points and his only offensive rebound and putback was a key one when the Warriors tied the game, while senior forward Tyler Hundley (Cheshire) chipped in nine rebounds. Five of Yarborough's six rebounds came on the offensive glass and helped the Warriors to a 46-27 overall rebounding advantage.
Eastern sank 26 of 35 free throws in the game, including 18-for-23 in the second half. In addition to Ives, Garrow was 6-for-8 from the stripe, Yarborough and freshman guard Trachone Preston (Enfield) both 3-for-4 and Salzillo sank both of his tries.
Eastern opens defense of its Little East Conference title Saturday at the University of Southern Maine at 3 p.m.