WORCESTER, Mass. – The Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team scored the first 15 points of the second half to open up a 28-point lead, and later outscored Dean College 17-5 over the final five minutes in an 87-64 win in a season-opening game in the first round of the WPI Ted Coghlin Memorial Tournament Friday night.
Eastern faces host WPI (1-0) in Saturday's 3 p.m. title game. The Engineers defeated Maine-Farmington, 96-62, in Friday's first game for its fifth straight victory in this third annual tournament.
With Eastern leading by 13 at halftime, four players combined for the first 15 points of the second half as the Warriors moved out to a 28-point, 58-30 lead 3:30 into the period.
Hot three-point shooting pulled Dean (0-1) to within 11 points, 70-59, with five minutes left in the game before the Warriors reeled off ten in a row and ended the contest on a 17-5 run.
Three players made their first career starts for Eastern, which got 20 points and six rebounds from senior guard Tarchee Brown (Rockville) and 13 points from sophomore guard Carlos Gonzalez (Springfield, MA). First-year Keene State College sophomore transfer guard Jake Collagan (Wethersfield) came off the bench for 13 points. After Dean had cut Eastern's lead to 11 late in the game, Brown converted an inside bucket, and after the Bulldogs threw away the inbounds pass, Collagan scored off an inbound pass, then swished a two-pointer from the top of th key to spark the run of ten straight points and make it 76-59 with four minutes left.
Collagan was 6-of-6 from the foul line for Eastern, which canned 18 of 21 from the stripe in the game and did not allow the Bulldogs a bonus free throw in the second half.