Worcester, MA- MCLA's Noah Yearsley connected on a three pointer to send the game into overtime and then his drive and score with four seconds left lifted the Trailblazers to a thrilling 88-87 win over Worcester State in an early season MASCAC showdown of conference unbeaten. The Trailblazers secure their ninth straight win as they move to 12-4 overall and sit atop the MASCAC standings at 5-0. The Lancers dip to 7-9 overall and are 3-1 in the conference.
Worcester led 43-35 at halftime. With 18:47 left, they took their largest lead at 48-37 before MCLA made their second half run. The Trailblazers would embark on a 19-4 run to turn the deficit around and seize a 56-52 lead, still with over ten minutes remaining.
Worcester would claw back however and the teams would trade the lead on numerous occasions heading into the final minutes. The Lancers led by four with just over a minute to play, but MCLA would claw to within a point at the one minute mark. From there, Tyler Dion would carry the Lancers and eventually put them up 78-75 with just 20 seconds left to play.
Out of a timeout, MCLA went to Noah Yearsley and the junior delivered a clutch three pointer to tie things up and send the game into overtime.
In the overtime session, Worcester appeared in good shape. They led 87-84 with 1:46 left to play after Sam Dion knocked down two free throws. MCLA's Ki-Shawn Monroe would slice the lead to just one on a layup making it 87-86, still with 1:24 to play. Neither team could score over the next 80 seconds and the Lancers had possession with a one point lead with under thirty seconds left, but a costly turnover gave MCLA the ball back and a chance to win it.
After dribbling around the perimeter, Yearsley took a pass on the left wing, drove across the middle of the lane, and extended towards the right block for a layup with just four seconds left giving MCLA the 88-87 lead. The Lancers got off a desperation heave, but it fell short and the MCLA bench celebrated the victory.
In the opening half, Worcester opened up a 29-19 lead following Corey Olivier's free throws with six minutes remaining. MCLA would respond with 10-4 spurt to close within four at 33-29, but Worcester would keep MCLA at bay to close the half. It was 40-35 in the closing seconds, but Tyler Spencer knocked home a triple, Worcester's seventh of the half, to make it 43-35 at the break.
The Lancers held MCLA to just 33% shooting while the hosts converted at a 46% clip. Worcester State was 7-16 from beyond the arc in the opening half of play.
Yearsley rebounded from a tough first half as he scored 15 of his 16 points in the closing half and OT. He added 9 rebounds. Mike Demartinis led MCLA with 18 points and added 8 boards. Chris Becker helped the offense with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Monroe ended with 13 points while Hayden Bird and Quentin Gittens each ended with ten.
Worcester State placed six players in double figures. Chris Cardoso finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Corey Olivier notched 17 points while Tyler Dion and Tyler Spencer each ended with 13.
The Trailblazers will seek their ninth straight win on Friday when they travel to Hunter College for a non league matchup.