Hartford, Conn. - Ronald Jefferson (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting to help lead the visiting Western Connecticut State Colonials to a 78-73 victory over the Trinity College Bantams on Wednesday night in men's basketball action at Oosting Gymnasium in Hartford. The Colonials improve to 4-2 on the year while Trinity falls to 3-2 overall with its second loss in a row. The Bantams return to action on Saturday for an 8 p.m. matchup versus Southern Vermont as part of the Ed Hockenbury Classic at Norwich University.
The Colonials jumped out to an early, 8-3 lead before going ahead, 15-9 at the 13:31 mark in the first half. Jefferson hit a layup with just over ten minutes in the half to open up a 21-12 advantage, however a three-pointer by sophomore Colin Donovan (Westborough, Mass.) on the following possession cut the deficit to six. Donovan sank a pair of free throws a minute later before junior tri-captain Kyle Padmore (Milton, Mass.) hit the first of two from the charity stripe as the Bantams trimmed WCSU's lead to 21-18.
The two sides traded buckets until a dunk by Fenton Bradley Jr. (Mansfield, Conn.) gave the Colonials a 28-23 advantage with six minutes remaining. Bantam junior Joe Bell (Manchester, N.H.) returned with a triple to keep it close, before a pair of free throws by senior tri-captain Connor Merinder (Andover, Mass.) eventually tied the game at 31-31 with 4:21 to play. The score remained close before Jefferson hit a layup with time winding down to give WCSU a 41-39 halftime lead.
Trinity took its first lead of the game at the 14:18 mark in the second half on a three-pointer by Donovan before the visitors climbed back ahead, 51-50, on a jumper by Ricardo McLeod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) with 12:28 showing on the board. The Colonials went ahead by as many as nine before the Bantams clawed their way back, cutting the deficit to 69-67 after a free-throw by Padmore with 3:13 left. Junior Christian Porydzy (South Glastonbury, Conn.) drained a three with 2:42 left to give Trinity the lead, however WCSU took it right back on a jumper by Jefferson on the opposite end of the floor. The Colonials maintained the lead for the rest of the game to come out on top, 78-73.
Donovan led the Bantams with 16 points off the bench to go along with seven boards while Padmore and Bell both finished in double-figures with 12 and 10 points, respeectively. Padmore recorded a career-high five blocks while sophomore Donald Jorden Jr. (Tampa, Fla.) finished with a game-high 11 rebounds, also a career-best. Bradley Jr. turned in 12 points for WCSU while the Colonials forced 19 Bantam turnovers.