Danbury, Conn. – Two-time Little East Player of the Year DaQuan Brooks pumped in a game-high 34 points and added nine assists as Western Connecticut State rallied from a 21-point first half deficit to escape with a 77-74 win over Clark University in non-league men's basketball action on Monday evening.
The Colonials, who are among teams receiving votes in the D3Hoops.com Top 25 poll, improve to 10-1 with the victory and have now won seven straight games. The Cougars, meanwhile, enter the semester break at 6-4 overall.
Brooks was dazzling for the victors, scoring 23 of his points in the second half. He was 8-for-18 from behind the arc for the game – with seven of them coming in the final 20 minutes.
Clark used an 18-2 run to break open a close game and make the score 40-19 with 5:06 left in the first half. Even though the Colonials scored ten of the final 14 points of the half, the Cougars still held a comfortable advantage courtesy of their 58 percent first half marksmanship, including a 6-for-8 performance from behind the arc.
Western Connecticut State's good fortune continued into the second half when they scored the half's first seven points in less than two minutes, trimming the Cougar edge to 44-36 with 18:42 to go.
After Brooks dropped in three-pointers on consecutive possessions to make the score 54-53, Clark answered back with a Travis Curley (Trumbull, Conn.) bomb to stem the tide, but Brooks nailed another from behind the arc later on to even the score at 59 with a little more than ten minutes left.
The Cougars seemed to be back in control with a 13-3 run highlighted by seven points from Tucker Esborn (Branford, Conn.) to take a 72-62.
As they did all night, however, the Colonials used the three-pointer to get back into the game. Brooks and Michael Jensen connected on one each during a 10-2 run to pull WCSU at 74-72 with 1:01 left. Jensen then forced a Clark turnover with 28 seconds left and the ball eventually worked its way to Brooks who made his eighth triple of the game to give Western its first lead since early in the first half.
Amazingly, the Cougars shot 54 percent from the field, made eight of 11 three-point attempts and had 20 assists attached to their 28 baskets, but the Colonials, who averaged 7.3 three-pointers per game, made a season-best 17 of 33.
In addition to Brooks, Gary Robinson and Jensen each added 14 points.
Clark was paced by Esborn's 14 points, while Mitch Renshaw (Rutland, Mass.) added 13 points and Curley 12.
The Cougars are now off until December 28 when they take part in the Big Easy Classic in New Orleans against Southern Maine.