MIDDLETOWN, Conn -Sophomore Paul Brooks (Arlington, MA) tallied game highs of 14 points and 11 rebounds as he helped spark Worcester State to a 69-51 victory over Becker in the first round of the Wesleyan Tip-Off Tournament this evening.
In the season opener for both clubs, the Lancers will play the hosting Cardinals tomorrow at 3 PM while the Hawks take on Sarah Lawrence in the consolation game.
Following two ties and seven lead changes, a triple by junior Manny Cabral (Roslindale, MA) sparked an 8-0 run which saw the Lancers open up a 24-19 margin with four minutes left in the opening half.
Becker did trim the deficit on three ocassions to just two points before the halftime horn sounded, which included a pair of baskets at the charity stripe by junior Jessy Michaud (Fort Lauderdale, FL) to trail 30-28 at the intermission.
Keyed by a traditional thee-point play by Brooks and back-to-back buckets in the paint by junior Jeremy Bacon (Milford, MA), the Lancers opened the second stanza with a 11-2 spurt to open up a 41-30 advantage.
The Hawks held the Blue and Gold to a single field goal over a stretch of five minutes and following a junior Rashaun Leggon (Elizabeth, NJ) lay-up, made it a five point contest with 12:44 left in regulation.
Both squads traded baskets over the next six minutes, but Becker maintained an arms length while the Lancers couldn't get back into double-digits.
With the Hawks down 52-48 at the 6:44 mark, the Lancers pulled using a torrid stretch at the charity stripe to outscore thier opponents 17-3 to close out the contest.
WSU went seven-for-eight at the free throw line while Becker missed all six of their attempts from beyond the arc in the final six minutes of the game.
The Lancers were also paced by senior Brendan Rios (Easthampton, MA) and sophomore Marquez McKreith-Collins (Springfield, MA/Cathedral) who registered 11 and 10 points, respectively, as Cabral chipped in with six points on two trifectas, five assists and three steals.
Junior Khairi Mosley (Elizabeth, NJ) and senior David Murtagh (Windsor Locks, CT) also combined for 15 points in the setback for the Hawks.
WSU shot 44 percent from the field for the game (24-for-54), sank 78 percent of their attempts from the line (17-for-23) and took advantage of their second chance opportunities with a 42-26 margin on the backboards (17-3).
Becker hit only three of their 22 shots from downtown and only made half of their bids from the charity stripe (12-for-23 - 53 percent), but did finish with five blocked shots.