WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Clark University's Brian Vayda scored his team's final ten points, including the game-winning three-pointer with under five seconds remaining, to lift the Cougars to a 55-54 win over Bowdoin in the opening round of the Eastern Connecticut Men's Basketball Tip-Off Tournament on Friday evening.
The Polar Bears fall to 0-1 and will face Western New England in the third-place game at 1:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Clark will play Eastern Connecticut in the title match at 3:00 p.m.
Bowdoin was led by 15 points from Andrew Madlinger and a 14 point, nine-rebounds showing from Keegan Pieri. Bryan Hurley had 10 points and six assists for the Polar Bears. Vayda led all scorers with 24 points for Clark while also grabbing seven rebounds.
Trailing 33-28 at the break, Bowdoin's defense clamped down and held Clark scoreless for more that five minutes to open the second half. The Polar Bears were able to grab the lead after a Pieri jump shot and the squads traded buckets until late in the period when Marko Peraica's jumper with 22 seconds remaining gave Bowdoin a 54-52 lead. After a timeout by Clark, Vayda netted the game-winning bucket with four seconds left.
Bowdoin hit 36% of its shots while Clark hit on 33%. The Polar Bears held a 43-33 edge on the glass, but committed 14 turnovers compared to just nine for the Cougars.