Salem, MA- The MCLA men's basketball team rallied from 16 points down in the second half, eventually building a 3 point edge with under two minutes remaining, but could not put MASCAC rival Salem State away falling 90-87 in MASCAC action Tuesday night. With the setback, the Trailblazers fall to 6-8, 0-2 in the league. Salem State improves to 2-10, 1-0 in the league
Salem State senior guard and co-captain Brennan Bennett scored 10 of the Vikings final 12 points, including 8-8 from the line to hold off a frantic Trailblazer rally that saw them storm back from a 16-point deficit in the final 10 minutes. The game was not decided until MCLA's Brendan Kordana (Adams, MA) had a three-pointer rim out at the buzzer.
MCLA took the lead 85-82 after Benny Cuprill (Albany, NY) drilled a three with just over three minutes remaining. Tristan Shannon (Andover, MA) scored on a driving hoop, but MCLA responded with two Jon Greenberg (Antwerp, Belgium) free throws to claim an 87-84 advantage with 1:30 on the clock. Bennett cut the deficit to one with a jumper in the lane, then scored Salem State's final four points from the line, including two free throws with 30 seconds left.
Sophomore forward Brian Clark (Deerfield, MA) scored 21 points for Salem State, as he shot 9-13 from the field. Shannon also reached double figures with 12. MCLA was paced by Chris Harris (Dorchester, MA) who led all scorers with 27 points, Greenberg added 17, and Mike Perreault (Whitinsville, MA) finished with 15.
The Vikings took their largest lead of the game, 73-57 with just over 10 minutes remaining after Brian Clark scored on a mid-range shot and a three-pointer. MCLA fought back, and responded with a ferocious 18-2 run over the next three minutes to tie the game at 73. Harris powered in six points during the skein, as the Vikings turned the ball over several times at midcourt.
Nick Linear (Salem, MA) stopped the bleeding with a hoop, but a Pat Ryan (Woodstock, NY) bucket minutes later gave the Trailblazers their first lead of the second half, 79-78.
The Vikings won despite allowing MCLA to shoot 50% (34-68) from the floor. Salem State controlled the boards, outrebounding the Trailblazers 45-38.
Salem State took control late in the first half, using a 22-7 run in the final six minutes to take a 52-39 lead into the locker room. Trailing 32-30 with six minutes left, the Vikings scored 11 straight points to take their first lead since the opening minutes. Tavone Wynder (Boston, MA) sparked the rally with rebound follows of missed shots on consecutive possessions, and Bennett added a long three-pointer. The brothers Clark accounted for nearly half of the Vikings points before the break, with Brian scoring 16 and Dan (Deerfield, MA) nine.
MCLA is off for the remainder of the week before returning to MASCAC action next Tuesday when they host Westfield State College.