MBB: Cougars Knock Off NEWMAC Defending Champs, Improve to 2-0 in League for First Time Since 2012-13

Photo by Katie Morrison
Photo by Katie Morrison

WORCESTER, Mass. – The Clark University men's basketball team surpassed its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) win total from the previous two seasons as the Cougars knocked off defending league champion Emerson, 82-73, at the Kneller Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon.

The Basics

Score: Cougars 82, Lions 73

Records: Clark University (7-6, 2-0 NEWMAC) | Emerson College (8-5, 1-1 NEWMAC)

How it Happened

Junior guard Biko Gayman (Fort Pierce, Fla.) tallied his second consecutive 20-point game, posting a game-high 26 points, six rebounds and four assists with an efficient 10-for-12 from the charity stripe.

Junior Tyler Davern (Webster, Mass.) registered 13 points and five rebounds while sophomore Joel Arteaga (Wyncote, Pa.) rounded out the scorers in double-figures, picking up 12 points, five rebounds and two steals.

For Emerson, senior Jack O'Connor nearly matched the output of Gayman, recording a double-double of 25 points while pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds. Nate Martin, Zach Waterhouse and Jarred Houston all finished in double-figures to bolster the starting unit.

The NEWMAC foes traded buckets over the opening five minutes with Davern and Stevens scoring three points apiece for a 6-6 score. After a layup from Waterhouse gave the Lions a slim lead, the Cougars offense went on a 13-6 scoring run over a four-minute span, taking a 19-14 margin on the scoreboard following a triple from junior Matthew Waggett (Saugus, Mass.) with 11:54 left in the session.

With 8:38 remaining in the opening half, the Cougars extended out to a 12-point advantage as a three pointer and a lay-in off the glass from junior Anthony Grzembski (Webster, Mass.) highlighted a 9-0 scoreless run for a 31-19 lead for the host.

Emerson battled back over the final seven minutes of action with a layup from O'Connor and a three pointer later in the sequence igniting a 14-point unanswered spurt for the Lions for a two-point advantage (33-31). Clark regained control just before the break with three pointers by Gayman and Zackary Mittelstadt (Wilton, Maine) swinging a 39-34 lead for the host headed into the break.

Clark came out of the locker room to immediately add onto the lead with three pointers from Gayman and Davern jumpstarting the offense. The teams again traded baskets with the Cougars getting the lead up to 51-38 before a triple by Waterhouse sparked a 9-2 scoring run from the opposition, shrinking the deficit to six points (53-47).

With just under 11 minutes in regulation, Waterhouse connected again from deep, with the Lions using the shot to trigger a six-point unanswered stretch to cut the gap to two points. With the visitors pushing, Gayman caught fire with six straight for the Cougars to keep the advantage on the scoreboard at 64-60.

The Cougars were able to re-extend on the scoreboard with 4:35 left as lay-ins from Davern and Mittelstadt pushed the margin back to ten points (70-60). The teams matched points down the stretch at 13 apiece with the Cougars knocking down 9-of-12 from the charity stripe in the final minute to lead way for the 82-73 final score.

The Cougars shot just 24-for-65 from the floor (36.9%) but made the most of their opportunities from the free throw stripe with a 20-for-26 display (76.9%). The host knocked down ten or more three pointers for the eighth time this season, knocking down 14-of-32 in the game (43.8%).

Emerson finished 25-of-59 from the field (42.4%) while being held to just a 5-for-18 effort from beyond the arc (27.8%). The Lions maintained a 46-37 advantage on the glass throughout while leading points inside the paint by a 28-20 clip.  

With the victory, Clark improves to 2-0 to start NEWMAC play for the first time since the 2012-13 season when the team started out 3-0 in the league.

Up Next

The Cougars are slated to visit the Pride of Springfield College on Wednesday, January 15 for a NEWMAC tilt, with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 pm.