Bangor, ME – Husson men's basketball looked to pick up their tenth straight win of the 2013-14 season as they faced in-state rival Colby College on Tuesday night at Newman Gymnasium. They were successful, as they beat the Mules 82-74 in thrilling fashion and improved to 10-0. With the loss, Colby stands at 6-4.
Colby had a strong start in the first half, jumping out to an 18-5 lead in the first seven minutes. Connor O'Neil (Freeport, ME) kicked off the action for the Mules with two three-pointers in the first three minutes. Husson regrouped after a timeout and began to cut down the deficit. Heading into halftime, the Eagles trailed by three, 32-29. Patrick Stewart (Bangor, ME) led the field with seven first half points for the Mules, and teammate Sam Willson (Watertown, CT) matched him with seven of his own. Colby's Chris Hudnut (Chevy Chase, MD) led the game with seven rebounds at the half. Mike Gonzales (Fort Washington, MD) led the Eagles with six points, and Husson teammate Trevon Butler (Waterbury, CT) put up five points, grabbed four rebounds, and dished out two assists.
Husson took the lead in the second half at 35-34 off a Butler layup. The game went back-and-forth from there. Aaron Willis (New York, NY) hit a three to bring the Eagles to a 45-43 lead, and two free throws from Willis extended Husson's lead to 47-43, the team's largest of the game so far. A Luke Westman (Newton, MA) layup for the Mules tied the game at 47-47, and Colby regained the lead off a Westman free throw. Another Willis three-pointer found the Eagles with a five point lead (55-50), and a Donte Cottonham (Silver Spring, MD) three extended it to six points (58-52). Colby continued to fight back, tying the score again at 60-60 off two free throws from Westman, and then going ahead off a Westman jumper, 64-62. Husson senior Phil Leighton (Naples, ME) responded with a huge three for the Eagles, but the Mules came right back again with a Willson jumper. Gonzales tied it at 67-67 with just under five minutes remaining.
At just under two minutes, a Dan Fleming (Fairfield, ME) layup put Husson ahead 74-71. Willis hit a three-pointer to make it 77-71 with a minute remaining, and that would settle the game. Husson would close it out to win 82-74.
Willis ended up with a game-high 21 points for the Eagles, and two others ended up in double scoring figures, Gonzales (13) and Leighton (12). Westman was Colby's high-scorer with 19 points. Willson ended up with 14, Stewart had 13, and Hudnut had 10. Willson had a game-high 9 rebounds, and Butler led the Eagles with 7.
Coach Warren Caruso said of the Eagles' win, "Our guys responded very well after a slow start. All year long we have had guys step up at the right time. It was a good win for us heading into important conference games."
Husson will next play North Atlantic Conference opponent Maine Maritime on Saturday at 3 PM in Castine. Colby will host Wesleyan at 8 PM on Friday.