North Adams, MA- Framingham State's Manny Payton scored a game high 23 points including a clutch three pointer to lead the Rams to a hard fought 64-58 win over the MCLA Trailblazers tonight in MASCAC action. Framingham improves to 4-14 overall, but is now 3-3 in the MASCAC.
MCLA drops to 4-14 overall and is 0-6 in the conference.
Down the stretch, the game was tied at 56-56 following Hayden Bird's corner triple with 1:42 remaining setting the stage for Payton's heroics. The Rams took a 57-56 lead on a free throw, but then Payton scored five straight points, including a clutch three with just 19 seconds left to increase the Ram lead to 62-56.
MCLA would add a bucket from Mike Demartinis, but ultimately ran out of time.
The opening half started slowly as both teams struggled offensively. MCLA led just 7-6 after seven minutes of action before the Rams used a 13-2 spurt to take their largest first half lead at 20-9 forcing a Trailblazer timeout. MCLA would answer though, using a 10-0 run to get back into it. When Hayden Bird drilled a three in transition, MCLA closed to within 20-19 with five minutes left til halftime.
The Rams would eventually take a 30-27 lead into halftime as Manny Payton connected from downtown in the closing minutes for the visitors. Payton scored 14 of this team's 30 points in the opening half. Framingham shot just 41% in the half but they held MCLA to just 31% shooting.
Payton collected his 23 points on 9-19 shooting. He added 7 rebounds in the win. Matthew Rohelia added 15 points off the bench including 5-6 shooting from the free throw line. Cameren McCloud-Thomas ended with 15 points and 8 boards for the Rams, who shot 44% from the floor in the win.
MCLA was paced by Demartinis who ended with a team best 19 points on 8-17 shooting. Ki-Shawn Monroe had a nice all around game collecting 10 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds in defeat. Bird would finish with 11 points for the Trailblazers.
MCLA shot just 34% from the floor.
MCLA is back in action on Saturday when they host Westfield State at noon. The Rams will head to Fitchburg State to continue MASCAC play.