Salem, Mass -- Salem State broke open a close game at halftime and raced past MCLA 80-67 Tuesday night at Twohig Gymnasium, in the first round of the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference tournament. The #3 seed Vikings (11-15), advance to the semifinals and will visit second-seeded Framingham State on Thursday night. MCLA, the #6 seed, finishes its season at 9-16.
Trailing by one at the break, the Vikings seized control, scoring the first 11 points of the second half, while the Trailblazers missed 15 of their first 16 shots. Nick Linear (Salem, MA) hit a pair of free throws and a three-pointer in the run, as Salem State turned a 38-37 deficit into a 48-38 lead.
MCLA managed to stay close despite its field goal futility, thanks to converting 5-6 from the line. When Brendan Kordana (Adams, MA) scored on a layup with 12:16 remaining, the Trailblazers were within seven, 52-45. But a pair of Tristian Shannon (Andover, MA) hoops ignited an 11-2 run, and MCLA never recovered. SSC kept the margin in double digits the rest of the way.
Linear led the way for Salem State, scoring a team-high 18 points, shooting 5-7 from the field and 7-8 from the line. Shannon added 13, Dan Clark (Deerfield, MA) had 12, and Tavone Wynder (Boston, MA) had 11. Jon Greenburg (Antwerp, Belgium) had game-highs of 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Trailblazers, before fouling out. Kordana and Chris Harris (Dorchester, MA) finished with 10 points.
The Vikings shot 43% from the field, while MCLA shot 40% including just 31% in the second half. The teams were nearly even on the glass, with the Vikings outrebounding the Trailblazers 39-38.