Amherst, MA- The MCLA Men's Basketball team, behind the duo of Hayden Bird and Mike Demartinis, rallied from an eleven point halftime deficit to defeat Framingham State 90-81 in non league action this afternoon in the Ken Wright Invitational consolation round. The Trailblazers earned their first win of the season as they are now 1-2. The Rams also fall to 1-2 on the season.
The Rams led comfortably at halftime 51-40 behind Manny Payton's solid play. The Trailblazers came out of the locker room a different team however, as they kept up their full court pressure on the FSU squad. MCLA forced a total of 34 Ram turnovers, 21 of which came after halftime.
MCLA opened the pivotal second half with an 11-2 spurt to get within two at 53-51 after a Demartinis layup. The Rams would quiet the rally and eventually lead by nine at 62-53 with 13 minutes left to play, and then 69-62 later on. FSU never trailed again until late in the contest.
The Trailblazers kept on coming though and with the score at 77-71 in favor of the Rams, MCLA rallied. Quran Davis' tip in started the game changing run and when he added two free throws with 3:30 left, MCLA finally tied it up at 77-77.
After a Ki-Shawn Monroe FT gave MCLA a one point edge, Bird made a driving layup to put the Trailblazers up three at 80-77. They would never trail again. The MCLA defense allowed just four points the rest of the way, while the Rams had no answers for Bird and Demartinis down the stretch.
Demartinis completed a great weekend with a 21 point effort on 5-11 shooting. He went 11-13 from the FT line and for the weekend was 23-25 from the stripe. Bird was outstanding as well ending with 19 points, 5 steals, and 8 rebounds. He canned a trio of three pointers.
Joaquin Scullark and Davis each ended with 12 points and Davis added 7 caroms. The Trailblazers shot 45% in the win.
FSU was paced by Tyri Hampton who ended with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Payton ended with 16 points, just one of which came in the first half before fouling out.
MCLA is back in action on Tuesday when they head over to Williams College.