North Adams, MA- The visiting Sage College Gators used a 14-4 run to close out a tight game, rallying past MCLA 70-67 in the season opener for both teams. The host Trailblazers had a shot to tie the game at the end of regulation, but Tim Fish's three point attempt at the buzzer fell short.
MCLA placed four players in double figures, with sophomore forward Ramon Viches tallying a team high 13 points. Sage was led by senior forward Ian Austin-Michaud, who collected a game high 19 points. Dalton Austin-Michaud finished with 17 points as well.
MCLA would increase a five point halftime advantage (39-34) to as much as eight points at 61-53 with 7:44 to play. The Gators would begin their run at that point, outscoring MCLA 14-2 over the next three minutes to grab a four point lead at 67-63. The run would set off a frantic final few minutes.
MCLA would sandwich a pair of layups, one each by Viches and the other by Tyrell Mosley, around an Ian Austin-Michaud free throw to cut the margin to 68-67 with 52 seconds remaining. MCLA would hold on defense, giving them a chance to take the lead. Senior Chris Harris drove to the hoop, but missed from close range with nine seconds left. After immediately being fouled, Dalton Austin-Michaud connected on the first free throw. Following a missed second attempt, MCLA's Vernon Cross was fouled, sending him to the line for a one and one.
The junior missed the front end and Dalton Austin-Michaud rebounding and calmly sank the first free throw. After missing the second, MCLA's last gasp attempt from Fish was well short.
The Gators held a commanding edge at the free throw line, going 29-42 from the stripe. MCLA was 14-17 at the line. The Trailblazers were doomed by 33 fouls.
Sage also held a commanding 41-27 edge off the glass.
Harris would finish with 11 points and 6 assists, while Cross and Mosley each finished with 10 points.
For Sage, Ryan Sager battled foul trouble, but would finish his night with 10 points and 8 rebounds.
MCLA will travel to Endicott this weekend, where they will meet Suffolk in the Endicott Classic.