BOSTON, Mass. – The Regis (Mass.) men's basketball team closed the regular season with a critical win, beating Wheelock College 81-69 to remain in the hunt for a playoff spot in next week's New England Collegiate Conference tournament. The Pride survived a late Wildcat rally to improve to 9-16 overall and 6-10 in conference. The Wildcats move to 10-14 and 7-8 in the NECC
Before the game, Wheelock honored its six seniors: Devin Brown (Chicago, Ill.), Matthew Eason (East Hartford, Conn.), Nicholas Fenton (East Hartford, Conn.), Derek Fournier (Johnston, R.I.), Pablo Tovar (LaJoya, Texas), and Anthony Williams (White Plains, N.Y.). Each player contributed significantly to the success of the program this season and three of them (Fenton, Fournier, and Williams) hold various men's basketball records such as all-time leading scorer, most assists, most 3-pointers, and more. All three players have also joined the Wheelock men's basketball 1,000 point club.
On the court, the Wildcats got off to a slow start and found themselves behind 12-4 early. Still, over the next seven minutes Wheelock chipped away at the lead before a Brown trifecta brought them within one possession, 27-24. Regis continued to attempt to pull away but the seniors kept the home team in the game with a Williams lay-in making it 35-31 with 1:45 to play in the half. The Pride would not be deterred and closed the stanza on a 9-3 spurt, capped by a 3-pointer from senior Jaiwon Martin (Coral Springs, Fla.) that sent the visitors into the break leading 44-34.
In the second half, Regis began to take control of the contest starting with back-to-back shots from downtown by rookie Dimitri Rosa (Tiverton, R.I.). Already leading 54-40 at the 16:19 mark, the Pride scored eight consecutive points as their advantage ballooned to 22. With 2:55 remaining in the contest, a tradition three-point play from sophomore Ademola Afonja (Staten Island, N.Y.) had the visitors up 76-54. Still, Wheelock had time for one more rally as they rattled off 12 straight points including treys from Brown and Fournier that cut their deficit to 76-66 with 1:10 on the clock. That would prove to be too little too late as Regis held on and closed out the game to win 81-69.
The Wildcats were led by Williams who recorded a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, including five on the offensive glass. Three other seniors joined him in double-digit scoring as Fenton netted 17 to go with seven assists, Brown contributed 13 and three 3-pointers, and Fournier added 10.
Nine of the 10 Pride players in the box score registered a point led by Afonja who poured in a game-high 22 points on an incredibly efficient 9-for-10 from the field and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. Senior Chris Leak Jr. (New Haven, Conn.) added 17 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. Sophomore Jordan Seldon (Everett, Mass.) rounded out the double-figure scorers with 12 points while senior Sam Jean-Giles (Melrose, Mass.) dished out a game-high 10 assists.