BRISTOL, R.I. – The Roger Williams University Men’s Basketball team almost erased an 18-point second-half deficit, but fell just short in the team’s 69-66 loss to Endicott College Saturday afternoon.
Endicott led 61-43 with 4:54 left in the game and appeared to be headed toward and easy win. Yet the Hawks stormed their way back into the game and pulled to within a basket before the Gulls held on for the victory.
Roger Williams struggled from the field throughout the game, as the Gulls’ defense forced the Hawks into difficult shots for most of the contest. RWU shot only 38.7 percent from the field and was only 9-of-32 (28.1%) in the first half.
Endicott led by ten entering halftime (29-19) and built its advantage on solid shooting from the perimeter. EC went 11-of-23 (47.8%) from the field in the second period, including a 14-point barrage by John Henault (Lunenburg, Mass.).
Kamahl Walker (Worcester, Mass.) dropped a jumper at the 4:54 mark to give Endicott an 18-point advantage, their largest lead of the game. From that point, the Hawk offense began to wake up.
RWU scored on each of their next four possessions while holding the Gulls scoreless over the same period. Roger Williams pulled to within ten (53-63) with 2:47 left.
Max Motroni (West Warwick, R.I.) would end the drought by hitting one of two free throws, but RWU’s Ryan Palumbo (Warwick, R.I.) stepped up with hard driving layups on back-to-back possessions for RWU, followed by a Nick Marini (Loudonville, N.Y.) floater to pull the Hawks within five (59-64).
The Hawks sent Endicott to the line on the next three trips, but the Gulls would go 1-of-2 in their final two chances. RWU would then score on each of their three opportunities the other way, including Palumbo’s jumper to make it a 66-68 game.
Daquan Sampson (Germantown, Md.) would be fouled with 7.3 seconds left, and again, EC would go 1-of-2 from the line, leaving the door open for the Hawks. Strong Endicott defense forced a bad pass by the Hawks, with RWU stepping out of bounds with 0.8 seconds left and unable to get a shot off. Endicott inbounded the ball back court to hold on for the victory.
Henault led all scorers with 19 points, along with five rebounds. Walker added 16 points and four assists before fouling out, while Motroni finished with 15 points and four boards.
Jaylen Jennings (Norwalk, Conn.) and Josh Syska (Peabody, Mass.) each finished with 14 points, with Jennings added six rebounds and Syska five. Marini notched new career highs with 12 points and four rebounds. Palumbo finished five rebounds, five assists, and four steals to go along with his 13 points, moving him halfway to the 1,000-point milestone.
On Tuesday, Roger Williams (7-14, 5-9 CCC) will host Curry, while Endicott (16-5, 12-2 CCC) welcomes Nichols.