FITCHBURG, Mass. – Junior forward Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.) scored a season-high 25 points and junior guard Ryan Carney (Easton, Mass.) added 21 to lead the visiting Bridgewater State University men's basketball team to a 95-90 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) victory over Fitchburg State University on Thursday night at Parkinson Gymnasium.
The Bears improve to 5-13 on the season and 3-3 in the MASCAC, while the host Falcons fall to 8-10 overall and 4-2 in conference play.
St. Louis went 8 for 12 from the floor and a perfect 6-for-6 from three-point range. He also pulled down six rebounds and recorded three steals.
Carney made 6 of 9 field goals including 3-for-4 from behind the arc. He was also a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line and notched five boards and a career-high nine assists.
BSU junior forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, N.C.) recorded his eighth straight double-double and tenth of the season. Ward tallied 16 points and a game-high ten rebounds. Sophomore forward Nick Crocker (Falmouth, Mass.) added 16 points for the Bears on 7 of 10 shooting to go along with eight boards, while freshman guard Admar Jaramillo (Brockton, Mass.) checked in with 11 points and three steals.
Junior guard Nicholas Tracy (Indianapolis, Ind.) paced the Falcons with a game-high 29 points. Junior guard Andre Ruff (Chicago, Ill.) added 16 points, six assists and a game-high five steals, while junior guard Tyrell St. John (Stamford, Conn.) registered 12 points and senior guard Jonathan Perez (Lowell, Mass.) tallied 13 points, four rebounds, five assists and four steals in 22 minutes off the bench.
In the first half, the Bears used a 12-0 run to erase an early 8-2 deficit. Five different players scored during the run including a pair of three-pointers by Jaramillo and Carney. Clinging to a 24-22 lead later in the period, the Bears outscored the Falcons 17-6 over the final five minutes to take a 41-28 lead into the break. Crocker got the late rally started with a three-pointer, while St. Louis scored eight points during the stretch including a pair of trifectas.
St. Louis notched 12 points in the first half while Crocker tallied nine and Ward added eight. Tracy paced the Falcons with 12 first-half points.
The Bears shot 55% (17-31) from the floor in the opening stanza including 5-for-10 (50%) from behind the arc. The BSU defense limited the Falcons to 38% (13-34) shooting over the first 20 minutes. Fitchburg also converted just 2 of 13 (15%) three-point field goal attempts in the period.
The Falcons held the edge in play over the first 4 ½ minutes of the second half as they outscored the Bears 17-8 to close the gap to four (49-45). Fitchburg drained four three-pointers during the stretch including two each from Ruff and St. John. Ruff also knocked down three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt. Bridgewater answered with a 10-2 run highlighted by four points apiece from Carney and Crocker to extend the lead to 59-47 with 13 minutes remaining. The Bears, however, managed to score just three points over the next four minutes and the Falcons pulled to within five, 62-57, following a Tracy jumper with just under nine minutes left to play. After the teams exchanged three-pointers, Ruff made 1 of 2 at the free throw line to make it a four-point game (65-61).
The Bears connected on each of the their next four shots including a Carney trifecta and back-to-back layups by sophomore guard Jonathan Mercado (Lynn, Mass.) to push the advantage back to ten, 74-64, with 5:32 remaining. A three-pointer by St. John and a Ruff free throw cut the Fitchburg deficit to six (74-60) as the clock ticked under four minutes. A pair of St. Louis three-pointers and a Carney jumper quickly put Bridgewater back up by double-digits, 82-70, with 2:27 left to play. Layups by Ruff and Tracy got it back to single digits before Crocker converted a traditional three-point play to make it an 11-point game (85-74) with a minute and a half remaining. The Bears went 10-for-14 at the free throw line over the final 72 seconds to withstand a furious Fitchburg comeback attempt and secure the 95-90 victory. The Falcons knocked down four three-pointers, including three from Perez, and scored 16 points over the last 65 seconds to make things interesting.
Bridgewater shot 60% (35-58) for the game, including an impressive 11-for-17 (65%) from behind the arc, and went 14-for-19 (74%) at the charity stripe. The Bears' 95 points marked a season-high.
Fitchburg connected on 45% (34-75) of its field goal attempts and went 13-for-33 (39%) from long distance and 9-for-12 (75%) at the line. The Falcons forced 20 turnovers which led to a 28-16 edge in points off turnovers.
The Bears are off until next Wednesday evening when they host conference rival MCLA at 5:30. The Falcons entertain MASCAC foe Framingham State University on Saturday at noon.