By Steven Merritt
CHESTER, P.A. – The Vassar College Men’s Basketball team fell in the Widener Tip-Off Tournament Championship on Saturday evening as the Brewers dropped a 69-51 contest to the host Pride. Senior Ethan Ellis tallied 13 points in the contest as Vassar fell to 1-1 on the season while Widener moved to 2-0 on the early season.
The Pride took an early 9-3 lead about five and half minutes into the first half as a layup from Kenny Lewis along with four points from Kevin Schenk put Widener out in front early. A Dominic Dunn jumper pushed the Pride lead up to 10 with 10:36 remaining and Pat Holden hit a jumper at the 7:49 mark to keep its lead at eight at 19-11.
Following the Holden bucket, Vassar pulled off an 11-4 run to close the quarter as five points from junior Case Parsons along with two buckets from Ellis and senior Jack Rothenberg to cut the Pride lead to 23-22 heading into halftime.
Out of the break, Widener scored nine straight points to start the half, capped by a three-pointer from Dunn to force a Vassar timeout with 18:44 left. Senior Zev Katz ripped off seven points over the next six minutes to help Vassar trim the lead down to five at 36-31.
The Pride then responded with an 11-3 run over the next two minutes and pushed its lead back to 15.
The Pride extended its lead to 19 points with 5:39 left as Dunn hit another triple to take a 58-39 advantage. A three-pointer from Ellis along with a layup from senior Avni Mustafaj cut the lead down to 14 with just under five minutes to play. With 1:19 left in the contest, Matt Johnson hit a three for Widener that gave the Pride its largest lead at 21 points. Freshman JP Miranda knocked down his first career triple at the end of the half as the Pride earned an 18 point victory.
Ellis finished with 13 points on 4-for-6 shooting and made two triples while Parsons, Katz and sophomore Luke Adams each added seven points. Rothenberg grabbed a team-high eight rebounds for Vassar. Mustafaj was named to the All-Tournament team after the conclusion of the tournament.
Dunn, the Tournament Most Outstanding Player, dropped 30 points for Widener on 13-for-20, including 4-for-8 from three-point range and also added a game-high nine rebounds. Schenk added 11 points while Steven Matlack handed out a game-high five assists.
Vassar shot 32.8-percent on the game and made seven threes and added six free throws. The Pride shot a blistering 53.4-percent and added six threes and only shot three free throws the whole game. Widener held a 9-5 edge in points off turnovers and a 44-22 edge in points in the paint.