Willimantic, Conn. - The Trinity College men's basketball team fell, 72-56, on Wednesday night to the No. 16-ranked Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors in a non-conference contest at Geissler Gymnasium in Willimantic. The loss drops the Bantams to 13-7 on the year while the Warriors improve to 18-2. Trinity returns to the hardwood on Friday evening when it takes on No. 17-ranked Wesleyan University in a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) matchup at home.
Senior co-captain Eric Gendron (Merrimack, N.H.) led the way for Trinity, scoring 24 points on a 9-of-12 shooting effort, while pulling down eight rebounds. Gendron was the lone Bantam to tally double-figures as the visitors were plagued by 22 turnovers. The Warriors were paced by Jake Collagan (Wethersfield, Conn.) who scored 16 points off the bench while Tarchee Brown (Rockville, Conn.) added 12 and Carlos Gonzalez (Springfield, Mass.) and Kendal Marquez (Willimantic, Conn.) combined for 22 points with 11 each. Gonzalez came away with four steals while Brown and Jacob Collins (Bristol, Conn.) tied a team-high six rebounds.
Trinity got off to a quick start, opening an 8-3 lead in the early-going thanks largely in part to a pair of three-pointers by Gendron. The Warriors stayed within reach though, eventually taking a 15-14 lead on a triple from Donny Craig (Waterford, Conn.) at the 12:32 mark. With 6:30 left to play in the first half, Gendron drained a three-pointer of his own to tie the game at 22-22, but on the following possession, Collagan was fouled on a trifecta attempt and converted all three free-throws before Brown made a layup on the following Warrior possession to reclaim a five-point lead. Collagan went on to hit a step-back three as time expired in the first half to give Eastern Connecticut State a 38-29 advantage at halftime.
The Warriors opened up a 13-point lead at the 17:13 mark in the second half on back-to-back buckets by Brown and Leonel Hyatt (Greenwich, Conn.) but the Bantams responded with a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 44-40. A Collagan jumper at 13:25 put the Warriors back ahead by six before Trinity junior Tim Flynn (Hartford, Conn.) stepped up and buried a three-pointer from the top of the arc to cut the deficit to three, silencing the home crowd and forcing Eastern Connecticut State to burn a timeout.
The Warriors responded out of the timeout, going on a 13-3 run to put the lead back at double-digits. Gendron tried to turn things around for the Bantams with a cutting layup at the 5:56 mark but Brown stroked a three-pointer on the other end of the floor to give Eastern a 64-50 advantage. Consecutive jump shots by Gonzalez with under four minutes to play opened up an 18-point lead for the hosts and put the game out of reach as the Warriors went on to win it, 72-56.