Eastern Connecticut State pushes into second round, beats Husson
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -- Senior forward Mike Garrow shook off first-half foul trouble to score 19 of his 20 points in the second half as Eastern Connecticut State ended Husson's 12-game winning streak with an 81-75 victory in the opening round of the 2014 NCAA Division III tournament at Memorial Gymnasium on the campus of SUNY Plattsburgh State.
With Garrow on the bench for the final ten minutes of the first half with three personal fouls, Eastern trailed by as many as eight and by five, 41-36 at halftime, as Husson (26-3) held the upper hand on the strength of 52 percent field goal shooting.
The Warriors outscored the Eagles 28-11 during the first 13 minutes of the second half, however, to move out to a 12-point lead, then hung on behind Garrow after Husson pulled to within one 72-71 with 65 seconds left. At that point, Garrow scored on a right-side drive on a pass from freshman forward Hugh Lindo, and completed the three-point play with a free throw with 43.4 seconds left, then sank two free throws in place of Lindo, who left the game after being intentionally fouled on a dunk attempt with 26.3 seconds left.
With Garrow spending most of the first half on the bench, sophomore guard Trachone Preston and Brian Salzillo picked up the scoring slack from the team's top scorer. Preston, the team's most effective scorer in post-season play this year, tossed in 11 of his game-high 23 points, and Salzillo all nine of his game points in the first half.
Lindo pulled down eight rebounds in the first half to help keep the Warriors close, but saved his best for the second half, when he personally out-rebounded the Eagles 15-10 on the way to a career-high 23 boards. Behind the 6-foot-4 inch Lindo, Eastern nearly doubled its opponent's rebounding total for the game. Lindo also chipped in five assists and nine points, and sophomore guard Kevin Leumene came off the bench to contribute 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the floor and 3-of-4 marksmanship from the stripe.
With Garrow, the Little East Conference Player-of-the-Year, on the bench for all but two minutes of the first half, head coach Bill Geitner utilized five players off the bench, with senior point guard Justin Nunez totaling 13 minutes and Leumene eight.
Brooks Spaulding and Aaron Willis paced a balanced Husson effort with 15 points each. Willis came off the bench for the Eagles, as did Mike Gonzales, who added 12 points.