MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team never trailed after giving up the first basket, scoring 25 points off 20 Wesleyan University turnovers in a 70-50 non-conference victory Sunday afternoon at Silloway Gymnasium.
A winner of three straight after a season-opening loss nine days ago, Eastern (3-1) nailed seven of 16 three-point attempts in outscoring Wesleyan (2-2) 40-25 in the second half and snapping a five-game losing streak at the hands of the Cardinals.
With four of the recent five losses to Wesleyan coming by a total of 11 points – including 66-65 losses in consecutive seasons – Eastern took command early in the second half and was never seriously threatened. The Warriors pulled away by scoring the final six points of the first half to go up by five at the break, then scoring eight straight points -- capped by consecutive three-point field goals from junior guard Carlos Gonzalez (Springfield, MA) – to move out to its first double-digit lead, 41-30 five minutes into the half.
Wesleyan never got closer than seven the rest of the way, with the Eastern lead cresting at 25 in the final two minutes.
Sophomore guard Cory Muckle (Westbrook) paced four double-digit starters with a career-high 21 points, with Gonzalez adding 16 point, seven assists, five rebounds, four steals and only one turnover in a team-high 37 points. Muckle and Gonzalez combined to can nine of 19 three-pointers as the Warriors went 10-of-27 from "three" and committed only 11 turnovers which resulted in only ten Wesleyan points.
Junior guard Jake Collagan (Wethersfield) and senior forward Leonel Hyatt (Greenwich) added ten points and freshman forward Seth Thomas (Norwich) contributed nine points, seven rebounds and five steals in a starting role. Collagan added four assists, four rebounds and two steals and Hyatt six rebounds. The Warriors' starters averaged 34 minutes.
Wesleyan out-rebounded Eastern by eight and nearly doubled Eastern's point total (15-8) on second-chance points, but misfired on 22 of 26 three-point tries, including 1-of-12 over the first 20 minutes.
Eastern opens its Little East Conference season Wednesday at Rhode Island College at 7:30 p.m.