North Adams, MA- Led by 19 points from freshman Noah Yearsley (Averill Park, NY/Averill Park), the third seeded MCLA Trailblazers defeated the sixth seed, the Framingham State University Rams 63-52 in the opening round of the 2018 MASCAC Men's Basketball Championships. With the win, the Trailblazers (10-15) advance to Thursday's semifinal round and will challenge #2 Bridgewater State University at 7pm. The Rams end their season at 6-20.
Yearsley was outstanding in the win. The 6'3 forward was 6-11 from the floor and 3-6 from beyond the arc for his 19 point night. He added 5 rebounds and two assists in the win. He was the only Trailblazer in double figures.
MCLA led wire to wire in this one. They scored the game's first seven points and quickly led by double figures. The lead would grow to 30-14 with 4:18 left in the first half, but the Rams would outscore the Trailblazers 9-0 to close the half and get within 30-23 at halftime.
The Trailblazers once again increased the lead to 16 points at 43-27 after a Yearsley drive to the bucket and nice dish to Joe Wiggins with 14:56 remaining. A few minutes later, with the score at 46-30 in favor of MCLA, the Rams once again responded. This time, a 7-0 spurt capped by a Kenny Seitz (Milford, MA/Marian) triple cut the deficit to 46-37 with still ten minutes left to play.
A three point play from MCLA's Keiland Cross (Pittsfield, MA/Pittsfield) stopped the run and pushed the lead back to double figures. The Rams would cut it to nine for the last time on Tyri Hampton's (Fitchburg, MA/Fitchburg) jumper with 5:33 left, but couldn't get any closer the rest of the way.
Cross ended with 8 points for MCLA, but added a game high 12 rebounds. Mike Demartinis (Burlington, MA/Burlington) and Hayden Bird (Clarksburg, MA/Drury) came off the bench to add 8 points apiece. The Trailblazers shot 43% in the win and overcame 16 turnovers.
The Rams were paced by Seitz' team best 14 points. He was 5-12 from the field and 4-10 from three point range. Manny Payton (Fitchburg, MA/Fitchburg) scored 10 points in the loss for the Rams. Charles Valbrun (Hyde Park, MA/Boston Prep) pulled down 11 rebounds for Framingham.
FSU shot just 32% from the floor.