For first time ever, Warriors win both LEC games against Western
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Junior guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) and senior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) combined for 24 second-half points on 9-for-10 shooting from the floor to help lift the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team to a 64-51 Little East Conference victory over Western Connecticut State University Tuesday night at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
At right: Justin Nunez (5) came off the bench to provide steady play at the point and contribute tight defense on Western's Phil Starks (3) in Tuesday's 64-51 Little East triumph over Western Connecticut. (Jonathan Mizger photo).
With the win, Eastern (15-7, 9-2 Little East) remains within a game of LEC leader Rhode Island College, which downed visiting Massachusetts Boston, 71-60 Tuesday night. Western (5-16, 3-8 Little East) dropped its sixth game in its last seven decisions and fell from a share of fifth place in the conference into sixth place. Three conference games remain in the regular season.
The wins gives the Warriors their first-ever LEC regular-season sweep of Western and marks the first time in 30 years that they have swept both games against the Colonials in a season.
Salzillo finished with a game-high 21 points and a career-high eight rebounds and extended his three-point field goal streak to 27 games. He was 5-for-10 from long range.
After missing all five of his field goals in the first half, Robitaille sank all five of his tries in the second to finish with 11 points.
Eastern was never able to pull away until the final five minutes, when it used a 14-2 run to move out to a 16-point, 64-48 lead inside the final 30 seconds. Robitaille had five points in the run and senior forward Tyler Hundley (Cheshire) five on a three-point field goal and two free throws.
Freshman guard Phil Starks led Western with 12 points but was the only double-digit scorer for the Colonials, who shot just 33.3 percent from the floor.
The defending LEC regular-season and tournament champ, Eastern visits Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday at 3 p.m. The Warriors are already assured of a first-round LEC tournament home game two weeks from tonight.