Vayda's Career-High Helps Cougars To Key Win


Norton, Mass. - The interior duo of sophomores Mitch Renshaw (Rutland, Mass.) and Brian Vayda (Sturbridge, Mass.) combined for 42 points and 14 rebounds to lead visiting Clark past Wheaton, 74-70 on Saturday afternoon at Emerson Gymnasium in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference men's basketball action.

The Cougars led by as many as 13 midway through the second half, but a flurry of turnovers down the stretch coupled with some timely shooting by the Lyons, trimmed the Clark advantage to as few as two with nine seconds remaining.

Vayda then stepped to the line and made a pair of free throws to seal the game for the Cougars, who improve to 9-5 overall and 1-1 in the NEWMAC. Wheaton, meanwhile, slips to 5-7 overall and 1-1 in league play.

Clark, which struggled from the field in their 61-46 loss to Coast Guard on Wednesday, connected on 51 percent of its attempts against the Lyons, including a 6-for-14 performance from behind the arc.

The Cougars controlled the glass, outrebounding Wheaton 40-21 and they also had an excellent day passing the ball, with 18 assists attached to their 27 baskets.

With 14:30 left in the game, Clark embarked on an 11-1 run that included a Slader Lyell (Portsmouth, R.I.) triple and was highlighted by six points from Vayda to give the Cougars their biggest lead of the game at 54-41 with 9:48 left.

Clark still had a 69-57 lead with 2:51 left following a dunk from Renshaw, but the Cougars committed turnovers on their next three possessions. Meanwhile, the Lyons, who went 15-for-21 from the free throw line in the second half, made six straight from the charity stripe surrounded by a layup and a three-pointer to close within striking distance.

The Cougars regrouped, and Lyell made three of four free throws before Vayda sank his clutch pair to seal the win.

Vayda finished with a career-high 27 points (9-for-13), to go along with seven boards and three assists. In two career games at Wheatons Emerson Gymnasium, Vayda is averaging 24 points and 10.5 rebounds on 65 percent shooting (17-for-26).

Renshaw, meanwhile, totaled 15 points and seven boards. Lyell added a season-best nine points and both Tucker Esborn (Branford, Conn.) and Jack Minister (Manchester, England) each contributed seven. Mark Alexander (Providence, R.I.) also registered seven points, and added nine rebounds and five assists in 36 minutes of action.

Wheaton was paced by Brendan Degnan's 20 points, while Anthony Coppola added 19 points and four rebounds.

The Cougars return to action on Tuesday, when they step out of conference play for a road test at Tufts beginning at 7 p.m.
Cougars Escape With 54-46 Win
November 24, 2009 Cougars Escape With 54-46 Win