Fitchburg, MA- The MCLA Men's basketball team rallied from seven points down over the final 2:30 of regulation to force overtime, but eventually fell on the road at Fitchburg 87-83. The loss drops MCLA to 1-4 in the MASCAC and 7-10 overall.
Freshman Blake Sheldon (Westminster, Mass./) lifted Fitchburg State to its first MASCAC victory of the year as the rookie guard set the tone of the overtime period with a shot from beyond the arc just 19 seconds into extra frames. The Falcons never relinquished the lead, holding off a second MCLA comeback with strong defense and precision shooting. Three Fitchburg State newcomers combined for ten points in the period as Sheldon, junior Robert Hopkins (East Hartford, Conn./RHAM) and senior Brandon Edelstein (Upper Merion, Penn./Harriton) all found the basket.
The game reached extra time as MCLA posted a seven point comeback over the final 2:30 of the second half capped by senior Mike Perrault's (Whitinsville, Mass./Northbridge) three-pointer with 0:28 seconds remaining in regulation. The Trailblazers were led by freshman Bilal Shabazz (Schenectady, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons) who tallied 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while junior Jon Greenberg (Antwerp, Belgium/Dennis-Yarmouth) added nine points and three rebounds in the frame.
Fitchburg State collected a comfortable six point lead after the first half of play as the Falcons netted a trio of free-throws following a double foul with time expired. Fitchburg State led by as much as ten throughout the half, using a 10-1 run midway through the frame, but MCLA inched back as Benny Cuprill (Albany, N.Y./Tamarac) hit three consecutive treys to pull the Trailblazers within one (27-26).
London led four Falcons in double-digits, posting a game-high 23 points on 8-of-19 shooting from the field. Senior Tim Graham (Arlington, Mass./Arlington Catholic) played strong with 18 points and four boards, while Sheldon notched a 17 point, seven rebound effort with 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.
Sophomore Chris Harris (Dorchester, MA/John D. Obryant)) recorded a double-double to lead MCLA, posting 19 points and ten boards, while Greenberg also chipped with double-figures, totaling 17 points and 11 caroms. Cuprill rounded out the Trailblazers' top three with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field.
The Falcons attempted 40 free throws, including 27 after the break and 10 in overtime. Meanwhile, the Trailblazers could only muster 11 attempts after intermission.
Fitchburg State (5-12, 1-4 MASCAC) will hit the hardwood again on Tuesday as it travels to Westfield State at 7:30 p.m. MCLA will host Bridgewater State College on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.