Hartford, Conn. - Sophomore guard Salah Abdo (Chelsea, Mass.) scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the second half to lead the Trinity College Bantams to a 67-61 win over the visiting Wheaton College Lyons in the consolation round of the Trinity College Holiday Invitational Men's Basketball Tournament this afternoon at Oosting Gymnasium. The Bantams improve to 3-6 and snap a three-game losing streak, while the Lyons fall to 7-5 with their fourth loss in five games. Bethany Lutheran won the tourney title, 80-72, in overtime thanks to 37 points by junior and tournament MVP Andy Wills (North Mankato, Minn.).
Trailing, 34-24, at the break and, 48-37, with 14 minutes left in the game, Trinity used an 16-5 run to tie the game at 53-53 on a traditional three-point play by sophomore forward Luke MacDougal (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) with seven minutes on the clock. MacDougall scored again on a put-back to give Trinity its first lead since the midway point of the first half (15-10) at 55-53 one minute later, but a trey by sophomore guard Bobby Perry (East Providence, R.I.) on Wheaton's next possession gave the lead immediately back to the Lyons. The Bantam defense held Wheaton to just five points over the final five minutes, and pulled ahead despite not sinking a field goal over that same span. Trinity sank 10 free throws in 14 attempts in the final 3:16 of the game, while holding the Lyons to just four late points in the final 22 seconds of play.
Trinity sophomore forward Timothy Dunn (Holyoke, Mass.) added 12 points, including the Trinity's first eight points of the game, and six rebounds, while senior co-captain forward Aaron Westbrooks (Dublin, Ireland) and sophomore guard Brian Ford (Bronx, N.Y.) scored 11 points apiece, and senior co-captain guard Paul Rowe (Brooklyn, N.Y.) pulled down a team-high seven rebounds with nine points. Lyon sophomore guard Anthony Coppola (Watertown, Mass.) led all scorers with 19 points and added four assists, while junior Jaxon Leo (Leesburg, Va.) contributed 12 points and a game-high nine boards. Westbrooks and Coppola were named to the all-tournament team.
In the finals, the Worcester State Lancers scored the first points of the game to jump up 2-0, but it was the only time they would lead in the game, as Bethany Lutheran managed to stave off a Lancer comeback that sent the game into overtime thanks to a pair of clutch free throws by junior forward Maurice Horton (Detroit, Mich.). The Vikings led by as many as 16 points early in the second half, but the Lancers chipped away behind the strong play of Horton, who finished with 14 points, eight assists and five rebounds, and junior guard Elijah Sims (Worcester, Mass.), who scored 11 points and added and two steals. Both earned all-tournament honors. Bethany Lutheran outscored Worcester State, 15-7, in the overyime. Junior guard Tommy Saffert ((North Mankato, Minn.) finished the game with 17 points, eight assists, two rebounds and two steals to join Wills on the all-tournament squad.