Score: Dean College 78, Wheaton College 75
Records: Dean College (9-7), Wheaton College (10-7)
Location: Pieri Gymnasium, Franklin, Mass.
Date: Monday, January 22, 2018
Time: 7:00 PM
Down by as many as 17 points early in the second half, Jordan Booker (Waterbury, Conn.) and Josh Croskey (Union, N.J.) led a wild comeback that resulted in a thrilling, 78-75, non-conference win over Wheaton College on Monday evening.
Booker scored 18 of his game-high 25 points in the final 20 minutes, including four clutch free throws in the final 24 seconds to help the Bulldogs hold off the Lyons.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Wheaton was ahead 41-31 at the half as they connected on 53 percent of their first half attempts, highlighted by a combined 20 points on 6-for-12 shooting from Liam Bruno and Ryan Fogarty.
The Wheaton lead swelled to its peak with just under 17 minutes left to play after a layup from Fogarty, two free throws from David Carbonello and three-point bomb from Riley Tetreault.
Dean started to whittle the lead down almost immediately as Croskey scored seven straight Bulldog points, but four minutes later they were still down 58-44.
The Bulldogs finally got the deficit to under ten when Booker drilled a three-pointer and Croskey scored again, making the game 62-55 with eight minutes to go.
As the game wore on, Dean continued to chip away and when Booker scored five in a row and then Dayvon Russell (Naugatuck, Conn.) split two free throws, the game was all square at 66-66.
Moments later, Croskey connected on one of his favorite mid-range jumpers and the Bulldogs had their first lead of the game with 2:56 to go.
Wheaton answered back however, and tied the game two more times – once on a Duaka Ekwensi free throw and then again on a Bruno interior finish – but Booker got into the lane again and put the Bulldogs ahead for good at 72-70 with 41 seconds to go.
The Lyons trimmed the Dean lead to 72-71 but Booker made the first two of his four key free throws to make the score 74-71. After an easy Alex DuBrow score, Booker made his second set of freebies, bumping the lead back to three at 76-73.
DuBrow thought he had an easy score on his next trip down but Armani Baker (Pawtucket, R.I.) rejected that attempt, kickstarting a fast break that resulted in Malik Brown (Miami, Fla.) sealing the game with a breakaway layup.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
The game was very even statistically, with Wheaton holding a 41-37 edge on the glass, but Dean shot 47 percent from the field for the game and had 17 points off of 15 Lyon turnovers.
In addition to his game-high 25 points, Booker added six rebounds and eight assists. Croskey, meanwhile, ended with 19 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks and Marquez Walls (Tampa, Fla.) came off the bench to score ten points – eight of which came in the first half.
Bruno totaled a team-best 17 points and seven rebounds for the Lyons, while Fogarty recorded 14 points and Tetreault posted 11 points, six rebounds and five assists.
The Bulldogs return to NECC play on Wednesday with a home contest against Wheelock that is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 PM. Wheaton, meanwhile, jumps back into NEWMAC action on Wednesday as well, hosting Coast Guard at 6:00 PM.