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BEVERLY, Mass. – The Endicott men's basketball nearly squandered a 22-point second half advantage to Wentworth on Thursday night, but late free throws makes halted the Leopards comeback attempt as Endicott held on for the 69-62 CCC victory.
Endicott (8-4, 3-2 CCC) used an 16-point first half performance by freshman guard John Henault (Lunenberg, Mass.) to go up 44-27 at halftime. Henault was nearly perfect from the field (4-of-5) and the from the free throw line (7-of-8) in 14 minutes of first half play, but second half struggles resulted in a total of 18 points for the game.
Wentworth (7-4, 3-2 CCC) struggled offensively for much of the game but during their second half rally that trimmed Endicott's large lead down to just three points, the Leopards found their stroke from beyond the arc. Junior guards Corey Therriault (Auburn, Maine) and Colin Johnson (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) each sunk two three-point shots that got the visitors back in the game. Therriault led his squad with 10 of his team-high 16 points in the second stanza.
The Gulls came out strong in the first half, taking a 9-0 lead before Wentworth scored their first basket on Therriault bucket at the 16:32 mark of the opening stanza. Endicott senior big man Erik Callo (Southington, Conn.) started off hot with five of those nine points.
Endicott continued their early game dominance after a three-ball and layup by Henault helped push the Blue and Green's lead up to 13 points at 16-3 just 5:10 into the game.
Wentworth, however, gained offensive steam with some effective long range shooting by Therriault and senior guard Eric Prue (Auburn, Maine). Prue drained two shots from beyond the arc and Therriault's three-pointer capped off an 11-0 run by the Leopards to make it 16-14 midway through the half.
Henault took over with his impressive first half performance while fellow freshman Andre Makris (Southbury, Conn.) added seven points and senior forward Tanner McEntee (Del Mar, Calif.) gave a solid effort with five boards and two blocks to go along with four points.
In the second half, Endicott expanded their lead to its largest, 22 points, at the 16:06 mark before Wentworth began to chip away. A 10-0 run by the Leopards brought the lead down to just 12 with 13:06 to go and an 11-0 run later in the game with 4:19 remaining pulled Wentworth to within seven at 59-52.
Therriault's three-ball with 2:04 to go made it 63-60 and a blocked shot by Derek Mayo (Casco, Maine) on the defensive end gave the visitors back the ball with a chance to tie. Wentworth, however, missed two three-point attempts and free throws down the stretch by Lance Greene (Dorchester, Mass.), Erik Callo and Tyler Burkhart (Cromwell, Conn.) sealed the win for Endicott.
Henault's 18 points led all scorers with Makris and Callo adding 14 and 11 points, respectively, for the Gulls. Callo also snatched seven boards, blocked two shots and had three assists. McEntee tied Wentworth's Adam Dombrowski (Dunstable, Mass.) for a game-high nine rebounds while totaling three blocks, an assist and a steal in 20 quality minutes off the bench.
Wentworth's Therriault had a game-high five assists to go along with his team-high 16 points. Dombrowski added 11 points as the only other double-digit scorer for the Leopards.
Endicott will host Curry in CCC action on Saturday, January 14th at 1:00 pm at MacDonald Gymnasium. Wentworth takes on conference rival Roger Williams on Saturday at 3:00 pm on their home court.