North Adams, MA- The visiting Framingham State Rams used solid second half performances from Rico DePaolis and Andre Santana to knock off the MCLA Trailblazers 71-68 Saturday afternoon. DePaolis and Santana combined for 33 second half points for the Rams, who improved to 9-15 overall, 3-8 in the league. MCLA drops their fourth straight and is now at 7-16 overall, 4-6 in conference play.
The hotly contested game saw 10 lead changes and 4 ties. With under a minute to go, Framingham held a 69-64 lead following a pair of Tyrone Figueroa free throws. MCLA answered with a Jamal Brown layup with 33 seconds left, slicing the lead to just three. Following a Ram violation on the ensuing inbounds pass, MCLA had another shot to cut into the margin. Vernon Cross' layup with 19 seconds left cut the deficit to a single point at 69-68.
Forced to foul, MCLA sent the Rams' Santana to the line. The freshman buried them both extending the lead out to three with 12 seconds remaining. Following an MCLA timeout, Michael Young was forced to throw up a desparation three pointer that was not to be at the final buzzer.
The Rams jumped out to a commanding edge early into the game. They led 15-4 early on as Adeyemi Ajao came out strong for the Rams. MCLA slowly began to chip away at the lead though and with the score sitting at 25-15 in favor of Framingham, began to make their move. MCLA used 13-4 run over the closing minutes of the half to pull within one at halftime at 29-28.
The Rams DePaolis was a perfect 6-6 in the second half from the field, while knocking down all three free throw attempts en route to his 19 points. Santana went 6-10 in the closing half finishing up with a game high 20 points. Ajao chipped in with 12 points, while Figueroa added a game high 9 rebounds. The Rams shot 55% from the floor in the game.
MCLA was led by Brown's team high of 18 points. Fellow senior Chris Harris was the only other player in double figures adding 12 points. The Trailblazers shot just 38%.
MCLA will look to snap its four game slide when they travel to Fitchburg State on Tuesday night.