CASTLETON, Vt. – Junior guard Jake Collagan (Wethersfield) set a program record for points in a half and tied the record for three-pointers in a half as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team moved to within one victory of its sixth straight Little East Conference regular-season title with a 99-60 victory over Castleton University Wednesday night at Glenbrook Gymnasium.
Collagan totaled 32 points in the first half, sinking eight of 13 three-point field goals to power Eastern (19-5, 13-2 LEC) to within a game of winning outright its sixth LEC regular-season title in a row, which would tie the conference men's basketball record for consecutive outright titles, set between 1992 and 1997 by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Eastern closes out the regular-season Saturday at Keene State College. The Warriors defeated the Owls, 79-66, Jan. 12 at Geissler Gymnasium. The teams shared the top spot in the LEC pre-season poll after meeting in the LEC tournament title game each of the past two years (Eastern winning both). Keene is 12-3 in the conference.
Eastern entered play having repeated its No. 7 NCAA regional rank of a week ago.
By beating Eastern Saturday, Keene would share the regular-season title with the Warriors and would unofficially earn the No. 1 tournament seed based upon tie-breakers. Both teams are guaranteed first-round tournament byes, regardless of Saturday's outcome.
In 33 minutes (13 in the second half), Collagan finished the game with 35 points and nine three-pointers, one point and one three-pointer shy of his personal career high set this past Nov. 20 in a 93-70 home win over Connecticut College. He was 10-of-21 from the floor (9-of-17 from distance) and 6-of-6 from the foul line and also had seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. The Eastern record for points (44) and the previous record for points in one half (29) were set by first-team All-America Tarchee Brown against Ramapo College on Nov. 22, 2015. Collagan tied Brown's record of ten three-pointers with his performance against Connecticut College (Brown was 10-of-10 from distance in that game).
In Eastern's earlier win over Castleton this year, Collagan had six points (0-of-6 from distance) in 18 minutes.
Senior guard Donny Craig (Waterford) added a career-high 19 points against Castleton (3-21, 0-15 LEC), with freshman Seth Thomas (Norwich) adding 17 points and ten rebounds, senior forward Leonel Hyatt (Greenwich) a game-high 12 rebounds, and junior guard Carlos Gonzalez (Springfield, MA) 11 points and six assists.
Eastern was 17-of-42 from distance in the game, two makes shy of the program record set two years ago against Western Connecticut. The Warriors sank 14 of 15 free throws.
Collagan fell short of the NCAA Division III record for points in a half, set by Jack Taylor of Grinnell College on Nov. 20, 2012. Taylor had 80. There is not posted record for three-point field goals in one half.