Rafael Maia Powers Brown Over Sacred Heart, 69-56
Providence, R.I. - Sophomore forward Rafael Maia scored 19 points and grabbed a career high 15 rebounds to lead Brown to a 69-56 win over Sacred Heart in a non-league game at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
The win was coach Mike Martin's first home victory as head coach of the Bears, as Brown evened its record at 3-3. Sacred Heart falls to 2-4 with the loss.
Maia posted his first career double-double with the 19 points coming on 7 of 16 shooting from the field. Seven of his 15 rebounds were on the offensive end of the court, helping Brown out-rebound the Pioneers by a 46-31 margin.
The Bears received a big lift off the bench from junior Tucker Halpern, who scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half, connecting 6 of 10 field goals, including 5-of-8 from behind the three-point arc.
"Tucker is a dangerous offensive weapon, and having him back in the lineup, with his offensive skill set, is a boost to our team," said Martin.
Halpern hit his first four treys in the second half to spark the Bears' offense. "It's always a confidence boost when you hit a couple of shots," said Halpern. "The basket looked twice its normal size."
Senior Matt Sullivan scored 16 points for Brown, while junior guard Sean McGonagill added 10 points and eight assists. The Bears also received a lift from senior forward Tyler Ponticelli, who came off the bench to grab nine rebounds.
Louis Montes, who scored 17 points on perfect 10-of-10 shooting from the free throw line, led the Pioneers. Justin Swidowski also scored in double figures for Sacred Heart with 10 points.
Brown grabbed a 31-27 lead at the half after 10 lead changes. Sacred Heart held a 27-26 advantage with 2:17 remaining, but the Bears scored the last five points of the half on a trey by McGonagill and a lay-up by Sullivan.
Brown opened the second half by outscoring the Pioneers by a 9-2 margin to open a 40-29 lead on a trey by Sullivan with 15:59 remaining on the clock.
Brown pulled ahead, 52-39, when Halpern connected on his fourth trey with 9:32 left in the game. Maia helped the Bears open its biggest lead, 61-45, with just over five minutes on a reverse lay-up.
The Bears will travel to Durham, New Hampshire on Saturday, December 1 to face the New Hampshire Wildcats. The matinee tip-off starts at 1pm at Lundholm Gymnasium.