North Adams, MA- MCLA freshman center Chris Becker (Lake George, NY) scored with two seconds remaining to lift the #2 seed Trailblazers to a hard fought 80-78 win over the sixth seeded Fitchburg State in the quarterfinal round of the 2020 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletics Conference (MASCAC) men's basketball tournament this evening. The Trailblazers (15-10) advance to the semifinal round where they will travel to the second seeded Worcester State Lancers on Thursday night at 6pm.
Fitchburg ends their season at 9-17.
MCLA trailed 40-38 at the half and the Falcons quickly jumped out to their largest lead of the night early in the second half at 56-42 before the host chipped away. The Trailblazers cut it to 61-56 on a Ki-Shawn Monroe layup, still with 10:24 left to play.
The Trailblazers finally took their first lead of the second half on Noah Yearsley's step back three to push ahead 74-72 with just over three to play. Fitchburg's Nicholas Tracy converted to tie things up on the next possession, then after a defensive stop, Tracy again went to the hole for two to put the Falcons ahead 76-75.
A pair of Yearsley FT's briefly gave MCLA the lead and then Tracy struck again to make it 78-77 with just over a minute to play. Yearsley was fouled on MCLA's next possession and sank the second after missing the first to tie things up at 78-78 setting up a frantic final few possessions.
Fitchburg had a chance to take the lead but Tracy's jumper fell short and MCLA rebounded. After a pair of timeouts, the Trailblazers had a chance to take a final shot. Monroe dribbled around the perimeter before penetrating on the left side of the paint. He found Becker cutting to the hoop on the right block and the freshman got the friendly roll to give MCLA the lead at 80-78 with just two seconds remaining.
The Falcons inbounded to midcourt and Tracy got off a desperation three, but it was off the mark to give MCLA the win.
Tracy dominated the first half scoring 19 of his game high 26 points to lead all scorers. The senior went 10-21 from the floor and snagged 8 rebounds in defeat. Jordan Jones was a monster all night long going off for 25 points and 8 boards of his own. Xavier Betancourt tallied 10 points for the Falcons.
MCLA was led by Yearsley's 23 point night. He was 6-17 shooting, but 5-10 from three. Bright Afful had his best game of the season collecting a double double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. His thunderous dunk in the second half brought significant energy to the Trailblazers. Becker ended with 13 points while Hayden Bird came off the bench to score 12.
The difference in the contest was three point shooting. MCLA converted on 11-21 attempts from beyond the arc compared to just 4-11 for the Falcons. MCLA ended the night shooting 46% while the Falcons shot 51%.
For more tournament information, please log on to www.mascac.com