Springfield, Mass. - First-year guard Varun Ram (Clarkville, Md.) had a game-high 19 points, sinking five out of six shots from three-point range, and added four assists to lead the Trinity College Bantams to an 81-64 victory over the Sage College Gators in the opening round of the Golden Bears Hoop Classic at Western New England University this afternoon. Playing in its home opener and defending its Golden Bears Hoop Classic Tournament title from last year, Trinity will play the host Western New England Golden Bears in the finals tomorrow at 3 p.m. Sage drops to 1-1 and will play Norwich in the consolation game. The Golden Bears won, 67-55, over Norwich in the late game tonight.
With the game tied at 8-8 early, Ram and sophomore Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.) hit back-to-back three-pointers to give Trinity a 14-8 lead five minutes into the game, and the Bantams did not trail the rest of the way. The Bantams shot over 50 percent from the field in both halves and 53.1 percent for the game, and sank 6 of 12 shots from long range in the opening stanza for 3-26 lead. Sage pulled within 10 points at 59-49 with 6:25 on the clock on a three-pointer by Ian Austin-Michaud (Valatie, N.Y.), before the Bantams took advantage of a foul and two technicals by Austin-Michaud to push its lead to 79-55 with just over two minutes left.
Trinity rookie guard Jon Seltzer (Penn Valley, Pa.) added 15 points on 6-for-9 field goal shooting, while senior captain center Chris Applegate (High Point, N.C.) notched 12 points and five rebounds, and freshman guard Carter Trent (Little Rock, Ark.) contributed 10 points and five assists. Austin-Michaud paced the Gators with 16 points and a game-high seven rebounds, but committed eight turnovers. Sophomore forward Mason Horne (Albany, N.Y.) added 14 points off the Sage bench.