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Leumene (31 points) Punishes Nichols College

Leumene (31 points) Punishes Nichols College

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. --  Junior guard Kevin Leumene (Stamford) and freshman guard Tarchee Brown (Manchester) combined for 51 points  as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team recorded an 80-56 non-conference victory over Nichols College Wednesday night at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

In the first half, Leumene sank nine of ten field goals and scored 23 of the team's 44 points en route to a career-high 31 points, while Brown followed with game totals of 20 points, seven of his points coming on nine free throws.

After Nichols (1-2) connected on the first basket of the game, Eastern (3-0) answered with the next 12 points – six by Leumene – and the Warriors were never headed. The Warriors limited the Bison to 26.7 percent shooting from the floor – sinking 55.2 percent of their own shots – in rolling to a 26-point, 44-18 halftime lead. Leumene's previous career-high came last January 18 at home against the University of Southern Maine.

In the game, Leumene was 12-for-17 from the floor (including 3-for-4 from three-point range) and 4-for-5 from the foul line and also added three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 30 minutes.

Brown, named to this past weekend's all-tournament team when Eastern won its own tip-off tournament, followed Leumene in points, giving him a 18.3 scoring average through the first three games of his career. He also had eight rebounds. After breaking the Eastern Tip-Off Tournament record with 34 rebounds on the way to MVP honors, sophomore forward Hugh Lindo (Enfield) grabbed a game-high 12 against Nichols and also blocked four shots. Freshman guard Collin Jordan (Cheshire) contributed five points, six rebounds and five assists in 25 minutes.

In the second half, Nichols scored 13 points off turnovers but only twice was able to cut the deficit under 20 points. The Bison missed 20 of 23 three-point field goals in falling to the Warriors for the eighth straight time.  Senior guard Matt Langadas and junior guard Irving Eggleston combined for 25 of Nichols' points. Langadas paced the Bison with 13 points and five rebounds, Eggleston adding 12 points. Senior forward Joe Gallant grabbed a team-high seven rebounds but Nichols was outrebounded 42-27.

Eastern competes in the Mayor Cup at Hartwick College this weekend, facing host Hartwick Friday at 8 p.m. and Oneonta State Saturday at 2 p.m.