Hartford, Conn. – Junior guard Jaquann Starks (Hartford, Conn.) scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Trinity College Bantams to a 78-63 victory over the visiting Berkeley College Knights in the Trinity College Holiday Men's Basketball Invitational Finals this afternoon on Stan Ogrodnik Court in Ray Oosting Gymnasium. Trinity improves to 9-2 and takes the Holiday Invitational crown for the first time since 2011. Berkeley drops to 7-3 with its first loss in seven games.
Trailing, 20-12, midway through the first half after a jumper by Berkeley junior forward Daquan Seymour (Brooklyn, N.Y.), the Bantams scored the game's next 12 points to ignite what turned out to be a 25-7 run and take a double-digit lead at 37-27 with under two minutes left before halftime. A Knight free throw in the closing seconds of the first half made the score, 37-28, as Trinity used a balanced scoring effort, shot 50 percent from the field (14-28), and made six of 11 shots from long range in the opening 20 minutes. Starks had eight points and junior forward Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added seven points at the break, while senior guard Kenton Chan-Man (Brooklyn, N.Y.) paced Berkeley with nine points.
Five straight points by Chan-Man, who represented the Knights on the all-tournament team, made it a one-possession game at 39-36 with 17:35 on the clock, but Starks answered with a three-pointer and Ajayi hit a jumper to push the Bantam lead back up to 44-36 moments later. Bantam junior guard Andrew Hurd (Windsor, Conn.) drilled a trey from the right corner to push the home team's advantage back over 10 points at 50-38 with 11:44 left to play, and Trinity maintained a healthy cushion for the rest of the contest.
Trinity finished with a 39-to-23 edge on the boards, including a 24-to-12 edge in the second half, and held the Knight to a 33.3 field-goal shooting percentage after intermission while shooting 49.0 percent from the floor, 50 percent from three-point land, and 79.2 percent from the foul line to offset its 20 turnovers. Sophomore forward Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) joined Ajayi and Starks in double figures in scoring with 10 points and added a game-high 11 boards, two blocks, and three steals. Ajayi also contributed seven rebounds and three blocked shots, while senior tri-captain center George Papadeas (Athens, Greece) pulled down nine rebounds, and senior tri-captain guard Hart Gliedman (New York, N.Y.) dished four assists. Chan-Man led Berkeley with 23 points, five boards, and four assists, while sophomore forward Stephon Jennings (New York, N.Y.) had 11 points and four steals.
Trinity won the tournament with a 76-72 win over Massachusetts College yesterday and its seventh consecutive victory today, while Berkeley earned an 80-62 triumph over Endicott in its first-round contest last evening. Endicott took down MCLA, 96-67, in the consolation game earlier today, as sophomore guard Max Motroni (West Warwick, R.I.) represented the winning Gulls on the all-tournament team and sophomore forward Adam Conquest (Gardner, Mass.) made the team from MCLA. Ajayi and Starks, who had 68 points between them in the tournament, also joined Chan-Man on the all-tournament squad.