Cougars sharp-shooting, strong defense sparks 82-56 win over Lyons

Cougars sharp-shooting, strong defense sparks 82-56 win over Lyons

Video: Highlights from Clark/Wheaton

NORTON, Mass. – The Wheaton College men's basketball team suffered an 82-56 loss to Clark University in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action Saturday afternoon at Emerson Gymnasium.

Senior Brendan Degnan (Narragansett, R.I./Bishop Hendricken) led all scorers with 20 points as the Lyons (8-10, 2-5 NEWMAC) saw their losing skid reach four games. Wheaton was outrebounded 37-20 on the afternoon and shot just 34.6 percent from the field (18-of-52) – including 21.7 percent in the first half (5-of-23).

The Cougars (9-10, 2-5 NEWMAC) featured three players in double-figures in scoring, led by senior Mitch Renshaw's (Rutland, Mass./Wachusett Regional) 17 points off the bench. Sophomore Jake Gubitose (Fiskdale, Mass./Tantasqua Regional) tossed in 13 points and senior Travis Curley (Trumbull, Conn./Proctor Academy) added 11 points.

Clark knocked down 65 percent of its shots in the first half and built a commanding 39-17 halftime lead. Gubitose sank two of the Cougars five 3-pointers while senior Drew Billington (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield-Ludlowe) dished out four of Clark's 10 first-half assists. Sophomore Will Bayliss (Manchester, N.H./Tilton Academy) led the Lyons with five points while freshman Ryan Clinesmith (New York, N.Y./The Hill School) netted four points.

The Cougars lead never dipped below 21 points in the second half, and they opened up their largest lead of the afternoon (65-34) on a layup by junior John Karas (South Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) with 7:30 remaining. Overall, Clark made 62 percent of its shots and picked up assists on 19 of its 31 field goals – including eight from Billington.

"We had enough to win the game, but it's been a struggle to score all season," said Lyons head coach Brian Walmsley. "For most of the season, we've been able to stop teams. We've been very good defensively. However, we're not going to win when teams shoot over 60 percent against us."

Defensively, the Lyons turned 22 Clark turnovers into 24 points – including three steals from Degnan and a pair from Bayliss. Sophomore Brian Grossman (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) scored 13 points and picked up a pair of steals for Wheaton while Bayliss went for 11 points.

The Lyons return to action on Wednesday when they welcome nationally-ranked MIT to Norton for a 7 p.m. contest. Clark hosts Babson next Saturday at 1 p.m.