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COLLEGE MEN’S BASKETBALL: Six in a row for Vassar after tourney-opening win

HARTFORD, Conn. – The Vassar College men’s basketball continued its winning streak with a 60-54 victory over Wentworth Institute of Technology on Monday evening at the Stan Ogrodnik Court during the opening round of the Trinity College Holiday Invitational.

The Brewers’ (6-1) first half shooting percentages were game-highs, hitting 11-of-26 from the floor (42.3%), 5-of-9 from the three-point arc (55.6%) and 6-of-8 from the free throw line (75.0%). The Leopards (3-5) didn’t manage any percentage above 40.0% in the first half from either the three-point area (33.3%) or from inside of the arc (37.9%).

The game saw seven lead changes with five of them occurring in the back and forth first half. With 2:11 left in the first half, the Brewers broke free from the 26-26 deadlock with a 7-2 run with layups from junior forward Luka Ladan and sophomore guard Johnny Mrlik and a three-pointer from junior guard Curtis Smith for the 33-28 halftime lead.

Wentworth battled back at the start of the second half to a 40-37 lead with a 12-4 run highlighted by Derek Mayo’s 10 points. Ladan and Mrlik teamed for a layup and a three-pointer, retaking the lead 42-40 and starting the Brewer 9-1 run that ended with a Smith distance three for a 46-41 advantage.

The closest the Leopards would come to taking the lead and possibly the game was with 2:24 remaining when John Fragnoli hit a layup and tied the game at 54. Vassar broke through the Wentworth full court defense when sophomore guard Erikson Wasyl beamed a long pass to a wide-open Ladan who made the easy layup.

The easy-in bucket was followed by a good free throw from senior guard Andrew Adkins and one from senior forward Evan Carberry for the 60-54 win.

Mayo was the game-high scorer, hitting 11-for-21 with 3-for-8 from beyond the three-point arc while sinking 3-of-6 from the charity line for a total of 28 points. He also led Wentworth with seven rebounds. Jherson Colon was the Leopards leader in assists with four while Cam Sennick blocked three shots.

Mrlik led the Brewers with 23 points from his 4-of-7 three-point shooting and 6-for-9 from the floor. He was also perfect from the free throw line, hitting all seven of his shots including all three of his first half, three-point shooting foul. Ladan was the other Brewer with double-digit scoring. He hit 5-of-10 from the floor and added 3-for-4 from the line for 13 points while adding five boards.

The Brewers will next take on the hosts Trinity College today at noon in the invitational championship game. Wentworth will play in the consolation game at 2:00 pm against University of Maine at Fort Kent.

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