Second half rally falls short as MCLA falls to Bridgewater 86-83

Second half rally falls short as MCLA falls to Bridgewater 86-83

North Adams, MA- The MCLA Men's Basketball team rallied from a 17 point second half deficit to tie the game late in the second half, however, visiting Bridgewater State rebounded for a hard fought 86-83 MASCAC victory.  A last second three pointer from Mike Perreault (Whitinsville, MA) fell short as time expired.  MCLA was led by Chris Harris (Dorchester, MA) and Jon Greenberg (Antwerp, Belgium), who combined for 45 points and 29 rebounds in the loss.  The Trailblazers drop to 7-11 overall, 1-5 in the league while Bridgewater remains unbeaten in conference play at 6-0 and 12-5 overall.

The first half saw a torrid scoring pace early as both teams came out shooting well.  Both teams would trade small runs until the the visitors would mount a late 12-2 run to capture a 49-34 advantage at the half.

Early in the second half, the Bears would extend the advantage to 17 points with 19:00 minutes to play (56-39).  MCLA quickly went on 6-0 run cutting the lead to 11 at 56-45.  The teams would trade baskets for the next couple of minutes until another Trailblazer burst turned the game around.

The Bears maintained a ten point advantage with 12:49 left following a Nick Motta putback (64-54) before the Trailblazers caught fire from long range.  MCLA would bury three consecutive treys on three straight possesions to cut the lead to one at 64-63.  Junior Benny Cuprill (Troy, NY) knocked down a pair while Perreault added his first of the night. 

The Bears would settle down after the onslaught pushing the lead back to seven on a few occasions setting the stage for one more furious rally.

With Bridgewater now holding a 79-72 edge with just over 4:00 minutes to play, MCLA went on a 7-0 run fueled Harris and Greenberg to tie the game at 79 with 2:06 left.  Motta would respond with a conventional three point play on the ensuing possession to give Bridgewater an 82-79 edge with just over 90 seconds to play. 

MCLA would come up empty on its next possesion and the Bears Matt McLaughlin knocked in a pair of free throws pushing the lead back to five with a minute left.  Two Greenberg free throws made it a one possesion game.  The Bears turned it over on the inbounds and Freshmen Bilal Shabazz' (Albany,  NY) layup trimmed the lead to a point at 84-83.  Forced to foul, MCLA sent Corey Connor to the line and he calmly sank both free throws extending the lead to 86-83.  Perreault's desperation three was short and the Bears emerged with the win.

Harris led MCLA with 26 points and 13 caroms, while Greenberg finished with 19 points and a game high 16 boards.  Cuprill turned in 7 assists and 3 steals.

The Bears were led by Motta who finished with a game high 28 points, while Chris Dijak added 16 before fouling out late in the second half.

MCLA is back in action on Saturday when they travel to Worcester.