FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Senior guard Manny Payton (Fitchburg, Mass.) scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Framingham State University men's basketball team to a 73-64 victory over Bridgewater State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) matchup on Saturday afternoon at the Athletic Center.
The Rams improve to 3-14 on the season and 2-3 in the MASCAC, while the Bears fall to 3-13 overall and 1-3 in conference play.
Payton connected on 10 of 24 field goal attempts and went 4-for-4 at the line. He also tallied four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Sophomore forward Cameron McCloud-Thomas (Springfield, Mass.) added 13 points for the Rams on 6 of 8 shooting to go along with six rebounds, while senior forward Khaneil Bruce (Cambridge, Mass.) checked in with 11 points and a team-best eight boards in 21 minutes off the bench.
Junior forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, N.C.) recorded his sixth straight double-double and eighth of the season to lead the way for Bridgewater State. Ward registered 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with two steals and three blocked shots. Junior forward Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.) contributed 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting including 3-for-4 from behind the arc, while freshman guard Admar Jaramillo (Brockton, Mass.) notched 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Trailing 12-11 in the first half, the Rams outscored the Bears 27-12 over the final 12 minutes of the stanza to take a 38-24 lead into the break. Payton scored 15 first-half points to lead all players, while Jaramillo paced Bridgewater with seven.
The Rams shot 47% (16-34) from the floor over the first 20 minutes and converted 4 of 5 free throw attempts. The Bears connected on just 29% (9-31) of their field goal attempts in the first half and turned the ball over ten times, but did manage to go 5-for-5 at the charity stripe. The two teams combined to shoot 3-for-16 from behind the arc in the opening stanza.
Back-to-back layups by sophomore guard Trevor Manyak (Bolton, Mass.) and junior forward Tyri Hampton (Fitchburg, Mass.) to open the second half gave Framingham its biggest lead of the game at 18 points (42-28). The Rams continued to maintain the double-digit advantage and held a 59-42 lead with 11:34 remaining. The Bears, however, went on a 16-4 run over the next six-plus minutes to close the gap to 63-58 with 5:20 left to play. Ward scored eight points during the run and capped it off with a three-pointer.
After a pair of jumpers from Payton pushed the Framingham lead back to nine (67-58), St. Louis knocked down a three-pointer to make it a 67-61 game with 4:17 remaining. Bridgewater, however, missed seven straight shots and did not score again until a last-second three-pointer. The Rams tallied six straight points during the Bears' scoreless drought and held on for the 73-64 victory.
Framingham shot 47% (30-64) for the game and finished 11of-17 (65%) at the free throw line. Bridgewater connected on 40% (24-60) of its field goal attempts, including 7-for-19 (37%) from three-point range, and went 9-for-10 (90%) at the stripe.
The Bears turned the ball over 17 times.
In upcoming action, the Bears host MASCAC rival Worcester State University on Tuesday (Jan. 22) night at 5:30. The Rams travel to MCLA on Thursday (Jan. 24) evening for a 5:30 conference game with the Trailblazers.