WILLIMANTIC â€” The No. 20 nationally-ranked Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team has started its season with seven straight wins for the second time in the program's 77-year history â€” equaling the start of the 1941-42 team â€” following a 78-59 non-conference victory over Manhattanville College in the Warriors' home opener Tuesday night at Geissler Gymnasium.
Off the bench, freshman guard Cory Muckle scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half and grabbed six of his game-high eight rebounds to help carry Eastern (7-0) to a 20-point, 44-24 halftime lead.
In that first half, Eastern shot 54.3 percent from the floor and turned the ball over only five times and converted 12 turnovers into 13 points in defeating Manhattanville (3-3) for the fourth time in the 4-game series. The road game was the first of the year for the Valiants.
The 20-point halftime lead never dipped below 16 points in the second half.
After an inside bucket by sophomore guard JoJo Cobbs pulled Manhattanville within 16 points, the Warriors went on a 10-2 run that lifted the lead to its widest margin (24 points) with 13 minutes left. Junior forward Leonel Hyatt had half of the team's points in that spurt with a conventional 3-point play and inside hoop while senior guard Tarchee Brown punctuated it with his only 3-point field goal of the game to make it 58-34.
Brown had 16 points to lead four double-figure scorers with Hyatt adding 13, Muckle 12 and junior guard Donny Craig came off the bench for ten points.
After missing the first six games with injury, freshman forward Brian Callahan connected on all three of his field goal attempts in the final five minutes of the first half and grabbed three rebounds in eight total minutes in his debut.
Sophomore starting guard Carlos Gonzalez was held scoreless in 25 minutes but had four steals, three rebounds and three assists. Senior forward Jacob Collins came off the bench for career-high seven rebounds in 13 minutes. Senior guard Collin Jordan played 11 minutes off the bench with three assists, three steals and a rebound.
Senior forward Alex Tuci of Manhattanville led all players with 20 points (7-of-10 from the foul line) and matched Muckle with eight rebounds with Cobbs adding 16 points (11 in the second half) and five rebounds.
The 1941-42 team, under the direction of E-Club Hall of Fame coach Carl Troester and led by legendary players Bob Scranton, Jack Selavka, Dick Walker and John Petrus, won all 14 of its games in winning the New England Teachers' College Conference in its first season of participation. It is Eastern's only undefeated team to date.
Eastern hosts WPI Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Women fall at Williams
WILLIAMSTOWN, Massachusetts â€” The Williams College women's basketball team recovered after missing its first seven shots of the second half to hold off an ECSU rally and claim a 66-55 non-conference victory Tuesday night.
Trailing by eight at halftime, Eastern (1-4) connected on two of its first three shots of the second half while Williams (6-2) was missing its first seven to pull to within four points three minutes into the quarter, but could get no closer as the hosts used a modest 6-1 run to regain a 9-point, 41-32 lead midway through the quarter.
Williams led by 13 after three quarters and shot nearly 60 percent in the final quarter, withstanding a mild Eastern run that cut the deficit to seven with eight minutes left. At that point, Amanni Fernandez sank a 3-pointer and, after the Warriors failed on consecutive inside hoops, Maggie Meehan converted a put-back to make it a 12-point game (56-44).
Eastern, which ended a 4-game Williamsâ€™ winning streak in this series with a 7-point home win a year ago, was out-rebounded 49-33 and missed 8-of-14 free throws. Three Eastern starters combined for only 13 points on 5-of-27 field goal shooting.
Sophomore post player Mya Villard led Eastern with 15 points, sophomore guard Sabrina LaMere adding 12 off the bench and sophomore guard Julie Jordan contributing 11 points and four rebounds. Sophomore guard Lizzy Cretella had nine points and a career-high nine rebounds.
Kristin Fechtelkotte led Williams with 21 points (10-of-19 from the floor) and 11 rebounds, both game highs. Emily Peckham grabbed 11 rebounds off the bench in 22 minutes and Fernandez added 12 points and six rebounds.
Eastern Connecticut hosts Western New England University Thursday at 7:30 p.m.