CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Sophomore guard Ahmad Charles (Cambridge, Mass.) scored a game-high 21 points to lead the sixth-seeded Regis College men's basketball team over host number three seed Wheelock College, 59-49, in the New England Collegiate Conference Quarterfinals this evening at Brunelli Court on the campus of Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
The Pride improve to 11-15 on the season and advance to take on second-seeded Elms College on February 24 at 8:00 p.m. in Leicester, Mass. on the campus of tournament host Becker College. Regis competing in its inaugural campaign in the NECC, becomes the first number six seed to advance to the semifinals in league history. The Wildcats end their season at 12-14.
Regis shot 52.4% (11-21) and controlled the boards with a 20-13 margin in the second half to overcome a five-point halftime deficit and outscore Wheelock, 36-21, in the period.
Senior point guard Kyle Pierce (Burlington, Mass.) netted the first points of the second stanza with a jumper for the Wildcats just 18 seconds into the period, but the Pride reeled off seven unanswered points, including five from Charles, to knot the score at 30-30 with 17:21 to go in the half. A layup from senior guard Max Kaim (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) reclaimed the lead for Wheelock at 32-30, but it would be the last advantage the home team would enjoy.
Sophomore forward Robert Edwards (Memphis, Tenn.) sank a pair of free throws and Charles converted a layup to give Regis a 34-32 margin at the 15:39 mark. The Pride later maintained a 42-39 lead with 9:45 showing in the second half, before ripping off seven straight points, fueled by five from Charles, to take their largest lead of the night at 49-39 with 5:49 to play in the game. Kaim knocked down a three-pointer just over four minutes later to pull the Wildcats to within 53-47 with 1:42 remaining in the second session, but it would be as close as they would get for the rest of the contest as Regis converted its free throws to close out the game.
The Pride held Wheelock scoreless for almost the first four minutes of the game, while scoring the first five points as part of a 17-7 stretch over the game's initial 10 minutes. Wheelock came alive with a 14-3 run, capped by a Kaim trifecta to give it a 21-20 edge with 4:26 left in the first half. Charles responded by completing a three-point play with a free throw for Regis giving it a 23-21 lead, but the Wildcats scored the final seven points of the half, including a three-pointer from Pierce with just two ticks left on the clock, to take a 28-23 cushion into the intermission.
Charles was 7-13 from the floor and a perfect 6-6 from the line for the Pride in addition to grabbing four rebounds, handing out an assist and picking up a steal. Edwards finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and a pair of steals, while freshman forward Ethan Peana (Staten Island, N.Y.) dropped in seven points, pulled down a game-high 10 boards, made three steals and dished for an assist. Sophomore guard Ryan Chambers (Abington, Mass.) chipped in with nine points, a rebound and two steals.
Kaim finishes his collegiate career with a team-high 17 points on 6-10 from the field, including 3-6 from three-point range to go with two rebounds, two assists and a steal for Wheelock. Junior swingman Bashir Hudson (Jamaica Plain, Mass.) contributed with nine points, six rebounds and two assists, while senior guard Victor Kashouh (Providence, R.I.) netted eight points, grabbed six caroms, picked up three steals and doled out an assist.