Bridgewater State and Fitchburg State to Meet in 2018 MASCAC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship Game

Bridgewater State and Fitchburg State to Meet in 2018 MASCAC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship Game

After winning their semifinal games on Thursday night, second seed Bridgewater State and fourth seed Fitchburg State will meet on Saturday, February 24 to determine the MASCAC Men's Basketball Tournament Champion.

#2 Bridgewater State 102, #3 MCLA 93                    Box Score

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Bridgewater State University advanced to the championship game of the 2018 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Men's Basketball Tournament as the second-seeded Bears knocked off #3 MCLA, 102-93, in the semifinal round on Thursday night at the Tinsley Center.

The Bears improve to 17-9 on the season and advance to the MASCAC championship game for the 11th time in program history. Bridgewater will host #4 Fitchburg State University on Saturday afternoon at one. Fitchburg stunned top-seeded Salem State University in overtime, 90-81, in the other semifinal matchup. The Trailblazers end the 2017-2018 campaign with an overall record of 10-16.

Three Bears scored at least 20 points with sophomore forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, N.C.) and senior guard Rocky DeAndrade (Mansfield, Mass.) leading the way with 25 points apiece. Ward connected on 8 of 12 field goals and was 8-for-10 at the free throw line. He also grabbed nine rebounds. DeAndrade went 8-for-14 from the floor, including a trio of three-pointers, and finished a perfect 6-for-6 at the charity stripe. He added five rebounds, three assists and three steals. The 25 points marked a season-high for DeAndrade and equaled a season-high for Ward.

Sophomore guard Ryan Carney (Easton, Mass.) contributed 23 points on 5 of 9 shooting from behind the arc. Carney was also a perfect 4-for-4 at the line and dished out four assists. Senior forward Joseph Carty (Natick, Mass.) posted a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds to go along with five assists.

Bridgewater overcame an outstanding effort from MCLA freshman guard Noah Yearsley (Averill Park, N.Y.). Yearsley poured in a game-high 31 points as he went 11-for-19 from the floor including an impressive 8-for-11 from three-point range. Five other Trailblazers scored in double figures. Senior forward Joseph Wiggins (Pittsfield, Mass.) notched 15 points, while senior guard Keiland Cross (Pittsfield, Mass.) filled the stat sheet with 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Senior forward Adam Conquest (Gardner, Mass.) added 11 points and six boards for MCLA and sophomore guard Ki-Shawn Monroe (Springfield, Mass.) notched ten points.

With the score knotted at 20-20 with 13 minutes remaining in the first half, the Bears used an 11-0 run in a span of 2 ½ minutes to open up a 31-20 lead. DeAndrade scored eight of the 11 points during the spurt including a pair of three-pointers.

With the Bears still maintaining a double-digit advantage with three minute remaining in the stanza (46-36), MCLA closed out the half with a 10-0 run as the two teams headed to the break with the score tied at 46-46. Yearsley tallied the final five points of the spurt.

Ward scored 14 points in the first half to lead all players, while DeAndrade tallied 13. The Bears shot 45% (18-40) over the first 20 minutes and went 5-for-16 (31%) from behind the arc.

Yearsley paced the visitors with 12 first-half points as he went 3-for-3 from downtown. Wiggins checked in with ten points for the Trailblazers who shot 52% (16-31) from the floor and 60% (9-15) from three-point range in the opening stanza.

Bridgewater dominated play for the first seven minutes of the second half as the Bears outscored the Trailblazers, 27-10, to open up a 73-56 lead and force an MCLA timeout. The Trailblazers chipped away at the deficit and used a 9-0 run to close the gap to 78-73 with seven minutes left to play. Moments later, MCLA pulled to within four, 81-77, following an uncontested Bird layup. The Trailblazers had a chance to get to within two, but could not convert a driving layup.

The Bears answered with a pair of DeAndrade free throws and, following a stop, Carty knocked down clutch three-pointer from the corner to extend the BSU lead to nine, 86-77, with 4:15 remaining. The Trailblazers would get no closer than seven points the rest of the way. Bridgewater went 14-for-16 from the free throw line over the final three minutes to secure the 102-93 victory.

Bridgewater shot 49% (32-66) for the game and finished 13-for-27 (48%) from long range and 25-for-29 (86%) at the line. MCLA connected on 49% (33-67) of its field goal attempts including 16-for-29 (55%) from behind the arc. The Trailblazers finished 11-for-16 (69%) at the stripe.

Notes: The 102 points marked the Bears' highest scoring output of the season.

 

#4 Fitchburg State 90, #1 Salem State 81 OT             Box Score

SALEM, MASS. – Jonathan Perez (Lowell, Mass.) scored 20 points, including 15 in the second half, as #4 Fitchburg State stunned top seed Salem State in overtime, 90-81 in the semifinals of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Tournament on Thursday evening at Twohig Gymnasium. The Falcons (13-14) advance to play #2 Bridgewater State on Saturday for the MASCAC Championship.  The Vikings (22-4), who had their 15-game winning streak snapped, are currently ranked #20 in the D3hoops.com latest poll, and will now await a possible at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Fitchburg State led by five at halftime before Salem State began to assert itself in the second half. Despite shooting just 13-34 (38.2%) in the first half, the Vikings' offense found its rhythm, and after scoring on back-to-back possessions, tied the game at 40-40 after a layup by Tyreik McCauley (Worcester, Mass.). Both teams began to heat up from the floor, and back-to-back three-pointers by Sean Bryan (Lowell, Mass.) and Shaquan Murray (Boston, Mass.) put the Vikings up by five, 51-46 with 12:43 remaining. However, Perez answered with consecutive three's, to spur a 9-2 run by Fitchburg State that ended with the Falcons leading by 12, 65-53 at the 7:44 mark.
  
The Vikings, who shot 58.6% (17-29) from the field in the second, battled back behind Drew Healy (Lowell, Mass.), who scored six straight points. Following a dunk after a nice feed from Bryan, by Healy, Salem State crept to within four of the lead. The Vikings then trimmed the deficit to one point before Tyrell St. John (Stamford, Conn.), who had 17 points, added a layup that put the Falcons up by three points heading into the final minute.  

Bryan, who last year hit a three at the buzzer to send Salem State to the title game, once again came through, hitting a game-tying three with 21 seconds left to force overtime.
  
Healy, who finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, put the Vikings up by one, 77-76 after a basket and an-one early in overtime as Nicholas Tracy (Indianapolis, Ind.) – 11 points on the night committed his fifth foul on the play.

Joshua Bosworth (Springfield, Mass.) quickly regained the lead for the Falcons with a layup, and after a trey by DaCosta, Fitchburg State began to pull away. DaCosta responded with another layup after a Jacob Lindland (Hamilton, Mass.) basket brought Salem State to within three. The
Falcons outscored Salem State 16-7 in the extra period and put the game away from the free throw line as the Vikings were forced to foul after shooting just 3-10 (30.0%) from the field in overtime. A dunk by Perez at the buzzer punctuated the 90-81 win.    

DaCosta had 11 rebounds- seven offensive - ,10 points and three blocks for Fitchburg State while Brandon Harris (San Bernardino, Calif.) contributed with 17 points on 5-10 (50%) shooting. Bosworth had 11 points and eight boards as the Falcons had six players in double figures.

Murray chipped in with 15 points for Salem State while Bryan added 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. Rayshaw Matthews (Boston, Mass.) had a game-high six assists and three steals.

The Vikings connected on just 5-25 (20.0%) three-pointers.
 
The first half saw Fitchburg State attack the paint while keeping Salem State's potent three-point game from materializing. The Falcons methodically built a nine-point advantage over the first ten minutes of the game. Tracy, who had eight first half points, put Fitchburg State up by five points at the 12:49 mark. A steal by Charles Doss (Fitchburg, Mass.) led to a Jonathan Perez (Lowell, Mass.) bucket and a 19-10 lead. The Vikings, who led the league with 197 three-point makes this season, struggled from behind the arc, shooting just 1-12 (8.3%) for the half.   

Unable to get going outside, Drew Healy (Lowell, Mass.) kept the Vikings in the game, going 6-for-6 from the field, while grabbing seven rebounds which led to 13 second chance points for the Vikings. A lay-in and tip-in by Healy helped Salem State cut into the deficit and suddenly the Vikings trailed by just three with 3:56 remaining.  A steal in the backcourt by Lindland led to a three-pointer by the senior that drew the Vikings to within a point at 27-26.

However, Fitchburg State answered the charge as a jumper by Tracy and a shot from behind the arc by St. John pushed the lead back to five. Salem State moved to within a basket in the final minute, but a shot by Perez at the buzzer gave the Falcons a 34-29 lead heading into halftime. 

 

Releases courtesy of Bridgewater and Salem State Sports Information