BY COLE McNANNA // FEB. 6, 2016 //
The Curry College men’s basketball team had its first win within reach at halftime but could not finish and suffered a 65-57 conference loss at the hands of the University of New England.
“Just came down to execution,” coach Matt LeVangie said of the loss. “They were able to execute down the stretch and unfortunately we were unable to.”
After Saturday’s loss, the Colonels are now 0-21 overall and 0-14 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), while the Nor’easters improved to 11-10 on the season and 6-8 in the CCC.
Curry opened the scoring 1:49 after the opening tip with junior Paul Preziosi splitting a pair of shots from the free-throw line. Preziosi redeemed his missed free-throw a couple of minutes later by hitting both of his next two free-throws, this time to retake the lead 3-2.
Junior James Pina broke a 4-4 tie and the Colonels went streaking on an 8-0 run, chewing up four minutes of the half to take the lead 11-4.
The teams traded scores on both ends but Curry continued to add distance from their opponent, holding a 9-point lead five times over throughout the first stanza, the largest lead the team would amass in the game. Senior Tim Flanagan ended the scoring by making both of his shots from the charity stripe to put the score at 30-22 in favor of the Colonels at the break.
Pina finished with 11 points over the first 20 minutes. Flanagan and freshman Alex Paul followed his example, scoring six points each while Pina, Paul and junior Trey Jones all grabbed five boards in the first half. Junior Tom Nason led UNE scoring in the first half with only four points.
The Colonels held onto the lead over the first six minutes of the second half before senior Devin Thompson made a layup to regain the lead for the Nor’easters for the first time since the game’s first four minutes.
The teams went back and forth scoring on each other. With 10:28 left, Preziosi nailed a layup to create a three point buffer for Curry. UNE wouldn’t go away and eventually regained the lead less than two minutes later with 8:06 left to play and the score at 47-45.
From that point the Nor’easters continued to score and were able to stifle the Colonels offense. UNE took fouls until the time expired with a final score of 65-57.
Pina finished two rebounds shy of a double-double, with a game-high 24 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Preziosi broke double digits as well, scoring 10 and grabbing five rebounds.
Paul matched Pina’s work on the glass, grabbing eight total rebounds while chipping in eight points additionally. Flanagan turned in an eight point effort while pulling seven boards.
Coach Matt LeVangie was proud of his boys’ effort and understood their displeasure after the loss. “They’ve been working really hard and they aren’t seeing the results that they desire,”he said, adding “I think there’s been a good level of competitiveness and we’re just going to keep fighting.”
The Colonels will need to work on playing for a full 40 minutes and “just string the two halves together,” according to LeVangie. “It’s not an effort thing because I think we played very hard, I think it’s an execution thing, and that comes with maturity and learning a system and becoming comfortable with it.”
Curry has four more games – two each at home and away – to get the monkey off its back and notch a win before the season ends.
The Windy Road Ahead: The Colonels host Western New England in their return to action on Wednesday night in another CCC game starting at 7:30 p.m.
Depth…Or Lack Thereof?: Out of the 13 Nor’easters who registered time on the floor, all but five played more than ten minutes, while Curry’s five starters all played over 30 minutes.
Nor’easters Outshoot Colonels: UNE held a 2.9% advantage in shooting percentage from the field with the Nor’easters finishing at 34.5% and the Colonels at 31.6%.