NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Junior forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, N.C.) tallied a career-high 27 points and 16 rebounds to lead the visiting Bridgewater State University men's basketball team to a 94-63 victory over MCLA in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) contest on Wednesday evening at the Amsler Campus Center.
The Bears improve to 3-10 overall and are now 1-0 in MASCAC play. The Trailblazers suffered their fourth straight loss in falling to 4-10 on the season and 0-2 in conference play.
Ward ended the contest shooting 10-for-18 from the floor as he led a contingent of four Bears in double-figure scoring. Sophomore forward Nick Crocker (Falmouth, Mass.) checked in with 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and a pair of blocked shots, while junior guard Ryan Carney (Easton, Mass.) added 12 points, five boards and four assists. Freshman guard Admar Jaramillo (Brockton, Mass.) rounded out BSU's double-digit point producers as he notched 11 points to go along with three rebounds, four steals and a game-best six assists.
The Bears opened the game with an 11-0 run as they connected on their first four shots of the contest highlighted by a pair of three-pointers from Carney and five points by Ward. After the Trailblazers answered with seven straight points, the Bears dominated play for the rest of the first half outscoring the hosts by a margin of 39-14 over the final 16 minutes of the stanza to take a commanding 50-21 lead into the break.
Ward scored 19 points over the first 20 minutes to lead all players while Carney added ten. The Bears shot 50% (21-42) from the floor in the first half including 6-for-14 (43%) from behind the arc. The Trailblazers connected on just 24% (8-34) of their field goal attempts in the opening stanza and went 1-for-7 (14%) from three-point range and 4-for-10 (40%) at the free throw line.
Bridgewater got up by as many as 31 points twice in the second half including the final score. Down 64-33, MCLA chipped away at the deficit and pulled to within 17 (76-59) with 5:29 remaining in the game. That, however, would be as close as the Trailblazers would get as the Bears closed out the game with an 18-4 run to come away with the victory. Six different players scored during Bridgewater's game-ending run which was capped off by a layup by freshman guard Calvin Bridges IV (South Hadley, Mass.).
Bridgewater shot 49% (36-74) for the game, 47% (9-19) from behind the arc and 68% (13-19) at the free throw line. The Bears' 94 points marked a season-high. Bridgewater also finished with a 52-34 rebounding advantage including a 15-10 edge on the offensive glass.
After struggling in the first half, the Trailblazers bounced back to shoot 47% (15-32) from the floor in the final stanza while knocking down 11 of 14 (79%) free throw attempts.
Junior guard Antoine Montgomery (Boston, Mass.) scored 16 points as did classmate Joaquin Scullark (New York, N.Y.) for the Trailblazers. MCLA sophomore forward Hayden Bird (Clarksburg, Mass.) and junior guard Ki-Shawn Monroe (Springfield, Mass.) each ended with 11 points in the loss.
The MASCAC schedule continues for both teams on Saturday afternoon at one. The Bears entertain Westfield State University while the Trailblazers travel to Worcester State University.