Head-First: Corban Wroe steals the show, Mark Nwakamma explodes, and the Hawks earn redemption with 80-77 win over Central Connecticut StateSunday, November 25th, 2012
(West Hartford, CT) – With 4:25 remaining in the game, and the Hartford Hawks clinging to a 67-62 lead over Central Connecticut State, Blue Devils sophomore Kyle Vinales had the ball in his hands at the top of the key, with only Hartford sophomore Corban Wroe standing between him and another bucket. One of the most explosive scorers in the nation, Vinales ranked third among the national scoring leaders at 25.7 points per game, and was in the midst of a scoring deluge, having poured in 24 or more points in four straight games. Averaging just 16 minutes and a whopping two point per game average, Wroe would seem to be at the losing end of a decided mismatch.
But while Vinales got the better of his defenders for most of the night, pouring in a game and season-high 32 points, in the games biggest moment, it was Wroe who made the biggest play. The 6’2″ Australian-import and one-time Rugby star poked the ball loose into the back court. At an all out sprint, Wroe chased Vinales down from behind. When the star shooting guard slowed to corral the ball, Wroe launched himself like a missile head-first, flying past Vinales, diving on the ball and calling a timeout before he could be tied out.
It was the game in microcosm.
“Today, when clutch plays needed to be made – Corban Wroe’s play – we made the toughness plays, so I can circle that down as why we had the ‘W’ today,” said head coach John Gallagher
Nearly a year ago to the day, the Hawks were annihilated, 92-58, by the Blue Devils, getting out-played, out-hustled, out-toughed, and thoroughly embarrassed in a game which was no where near as close as its lopsided final score. On Saturday afternoon, the Hawks got a measure of revenge and redemption, making all the gut check plays down the stretch to out-fight and out-work the Blue Devils for an 80-77 win.
“We have to realize that those [hustle] plays – that’s the foundation of who we are; those toughness plays,” said Gallagher.
“[Coach Gallagher] had them motivated and they played with more emotion than we did,” said Central Connecticut State head coach Howie Dickenman. “We were well prepared for this… But emotionally we weren’t there; we weren’t mentally tough.”
Sophomore Forward Mark Nwakamma exploded for a career-high 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting, while pulling down seven rebounds and dishing out five assists, adding a block and a steal. Sophomore guard Yolonzo Moore II scored 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-4 from deep. Freshman point guard Evan Cooper scored 10 points in 22 minutes off the bench. But it was Wroe who made the biggest and toughest plays in the deciding moments. (more…)