Springfield, Mass. – Sophomore swingman Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.) notched team-highs of 15 points and eight rebounds to go with three assists and a block, leading the visiting Trinity College Bantams to a 73-63 victory over the Western New England University Golden Bears in the finals of the Golden Bears Hoop Classic Men's Basketball Tournament this afternoon at the Alumni Healthful Living Center this afternoon. Trinity, which wins its second straight Golden Bears Classic title and has won four consecutive invitational tournament crowns, improves to 2-0. Western New England drops to 2-1.
Trinity got off to a fast start, taking a 14-7 lead at the 13:45 mark and extending to 21-12 midway through the frame on a three-pointer from the right wing by freshman guard Carter Trent (Little Rock, Ark.). Trent drained his third triple of the half at the 2:40 mark to give Trinity a 42-25 advantage. A long three-pointer from the top of the key by Western New England junior captain guard Damon Alston (New Britain, Conn.) accounted for a 42-29 Bantam lead at the break. Trinity shot 58.6 percent from the field in the first half and made six of 14 shots from long range, while holding the Golden Bears to 32 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes. Sophomore Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.) paced Trinity with 11 points and three other Bantams scored nine in a balanced offensive effort.
Trinity continued to pull away in the second half, going ahead, 54-36, with 11:39 on the clock on a three-pointer from the left corner by freshman guard Jon Seltzer (Penn Valley, Pa.), and taking its biggest lead of the day, 68-40, after a trey by rookie guard Varun Ram (Clarkville, Md.) with just over seven minutes remaining. Western New England outscored Trinity, 33-15, over the last 7:04 to account for a 73-63 final tally.
Ram and Seltzer each joined tournament MVP Dean in double figures in scoring for Trinity with 12 points apiece, while Trent contributed 11 points and four assists off the bench. Senior captain guard Andre Shaw (New York, N.Y.) led all scorers with 21 points, sinking all 11 of his free throw attempts, while sophomore guard Ryan Mickiewicz (East Longmeadow, Mass.) added 10 points. Trinity senior captain center Chris Applegate (High Point, N.C.) blocked two shots and joined Dean on the all-tournament squad for the Bantams.