Salem, MA- The MCLA Men's basketball came out ice cold and suffered a 101-76 setback to MASCAC rival Salem State in the conference opener for the Trailblazers. MCLA drops to 3-11 on the season, while the Vikings improve to 1-1 in league play.
Apollos Wade (Taunton, MA) led six Salem State players in double figures, and the Vikings jumped out to a huge early lead and coasted to victory. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for SSU and improved its record to 8-6 on the season.
MCLA came out ice cold and hit just four of its first 26 shots. That enabled the Vikings to race out to a 30-10 lead with just over seven minutes remaining. Brian Clark (Deerfield, MA) scored three quick hoops to get the Vikings jump-started, and Hamed Akanni (Fitchburg, MA) scored five points in an 11-0 run to break the game open. MCLA scored just one field goal in a seven-minute span, as the Trailblazers shot 1-for-13 during that stretch.
MCLA warmed up toward the end of the period, making seven of their final 10 field goals, but the Vikings still held a commanding 48-26 advantage at the intermission.
Vernon Cross (Colonie, NY) single-handedly kept the Trailblazers within striking distance in the second half, as he scored 12 of MCLA's first 14 points and the SSU lead shrunk to 14, 57-43. However, Tavone Wynder (Boston, MA) righted the Vikings' ship, as he scored seven points in a 10-0 run to put the game out of reach. The Vikings punctuated the dominating performance with an alley-oop dunk by Clark on a feed from Wade, followed by another dunk in traffic by Andrew White (Medford, MA) to increase the lead to 84-62 with six minutes remaining.
The game was a chippy affair, with the teams being whistled for a combined 51 fouls, including five technical fouls. The Vikings shot 57% from the field and were 28-37 from the line, however they did commit 26 turnovers.
MCLA shot 35% from the field, and was just 5-21 from three-point range.
Wade led all scorers with 20 points, and he was joined in double figures by White (16 points), Clark (13 points), Wynder (12 points), Nate Simpson (Lowell, MA) - 11 points, and Akkanni (11 points).
Salem State returns to the court on January 17, when the Vikings host Framingham State at 7:30 PM. MCLA returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Worcester State at 5:00 PM.