February 11, 2012

Lyons eliminate Coast Guard from playoff contention, 67-62

VIDEO: Highlights from Wheaton/Coast Guard

NORTON, Mass. – Senior Brendan Degnan (Narragansett, R.I./Bishop Hendricken) poured in a game-high 20 points and classmate Anthony Weeks (Fitchburg, Mass./Worcester Academy) added 15 points to lead the Wheaton College men's basketball team to a 67-62 win over Coast Guard Academy on Senior Day in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action Saturday afternoon at Emerson Gymnasium.

Sophomore Brian Grossman (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) chipped in with a season-high 14 points as the Lyons (11-11, 4-6 NEWMAC) ran their win streak to three and swept the season series from the Bears (8-13, 2-9 NEWMAC). The loss eliminates Coast Guard from NEWMAC playoff contention.  

Wheaton senior Shawn Daily (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Saint Michael Academy) snared a team-high 12 boards in his final home contest while classmate Bruno Naylor (Santa Monica, Calif./Northfield Mount Hermon School) recorded a key three-point play early in the second half and also finished with a pair of rebounds.

Coast Guard scampered out to an early 13-3 lead before the Lyons regrouped and closed the half on a 32-17 run to lead by five (35-30) at the break. Grossman netted 11 of his points in the opening 20 minutes while Degnan registered 10 – including a triple with 4:45 remaining that tied the game at 25. Wheaton closed the half on a 7-0 run behind a three from Grossman and buckets from Weeks and Degnan.  Junior Greg Marshall (Gaithersburg, Md./NMMI) paced the Bears with eight.

The Lyons scored five of the first seven points in the second stanza to take their largest lead of the game at 40-32. Freshman Rocky Rodriguez (Caracas, Venezuela/Cypress Bay) knocked down a three for Coast Guard at 11:27 to tie the game at 45, and three free throws gave the Bears a 48-45 lead with 9:13 to go.

WC freshman Eddie Capstick (Worcester, Mass./Marianapolis Prep) answered with a three to tie the game at 48, and Degnan followed with a triple of his own to give Wheaton a three-point lead (51-48) with under eight minutes to go. Once again, Coast Guard responded as Marshall connected from downtown to tie the score at 51.

Wheaton went ahead for good at 5:08 when Weeks rattled in one of two free throws, giving the Lyons a 54-53 lead. Minutes later, Degnan buried his fourth three of the contest to stretch the lead to five with 2:06 to go. Junior Jimmy Knudsen (Ridge, N.Y./Longwood) cut the CGA deficit to two with a three-pointer with 22 seconds on the clock, but Degnan drained a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to make it a two possession game.

"The last few years when we've played Coast Guard, the games always seem to be a slugfest," said Wheaton head coach Brian Walmsley. "It goes back-and-forth. I was so glad that our seniors stepped up today. Brendan and Anthony made big shots when we needed them, Shawn was a force in the paint, and Bruno gave us some key minutes and a big basket early in the second half that sparked us. Anthony also placed exception defense against Greg Marshall."

The Lyons finished the game shooting 36 percent from the field but threw in 46 percent of their three-point attempts (11-of-24). They also held a 45-36 edge on the glass and won despite turning the ball over 19 times, which led to 21 points for the Bears. Sophomore Will Bayliss (Manchester, N.H./Tilton Academy) tied his season-high with six assists for Wheaton.

Sophomore Kevin Sowers (Monrovia, Md./Urbana) filled the stat sheet with 11 points and six assists for Coast Guard, which also received nine points and 12 rebounds from Knudsen and seven points, five assists, three boards and three steals from sophomore Devonte Weems (Chesapeake Beach, Md./Huntington). The Bears shot 39 percent and recorded assists on 16 of their 24 field goals.

The Lyons return to action on Wednesday when they travel to Babson for a 5:30 p.m. contest on Wednesday. The Bears host Babson next Saturday at 1 p.m.

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