POTSDAM, N.Y. – The Bridgewater State University men's basketball team erased a 12-point second half deficit as the Bears edged Clarkson University, 66-63, in the semifinal round of the North Country Invitational at SUNY Potsdam's Maxcy Hall.
The Bears (1-1) advance to the tournament championship game and with take in host SUNY Potsdam on Saturday afternoon at three. The Golden Knights (0-1) will take on Green Mountain College in the consolation game on Saturday at one.
Four players finished in double figures for Bridgewater State, led by Rayshon Ward (Plymouth, Mass.) who posted a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Joseph Carty (Natick, Mass.) contributed 13 points and nine boards and Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.) had 13 points and seven rebounds in his BSU debut. Rocky DeAndrade (Mansfield, Mass.) also finished with 12 points, all coming in the second half.
Clarkson held a 36-26 lead at the break. Thanks to five three-pointers down the stretch, the Golden Knights went on a 17-6 run to end the stanza, capped off by a Roburt Welch trifecta from the top of the key with just under a minute remaining.
Liam Ellis ended the half with 13 points, shooting 5-for-6 overall, with three assists and Matthew Hornak closed with nine points on 3-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Clarkson shot 7-for-16 from the 3-point line in the half. For the Bears, St. Louis scored ten points on 4-for-5 shooting and grabbed five rebounds coming off the bench, while Carty had nine points, all in the paint, in the first half.
Trailing 55-46 with 7:28 remaining in the second half, a St. Louis three-pointer sparked a 15-3 run which included three layups by Ward and six points from DeAndrade. A DeAndrade layup on the break gave the Bears a 59-58 lead. DeAndrade then knocked down a jumper to make it a three-point game (61-58) with just over two minutes left to play. Clarkson finally snapped the run on a put back by Matt Higgins with a minute to go. Four straight free throws (two by DeAndrade and two by Carty) extended the BSU lead to five, 65-60, with 17 seconds remaining. A Hornak three-pointer with eight seconds left cut the deficit to 65-63. After DeAndrade made 1 of 2 at the line, Ellis's three-point attempt at the buzzer hit the front of the rim.
Ellis finished with a game-high 16 points and also added in seven assists. Hornak tossed in 15, all from beyond the arc, and Higgins added 11 points.
Bridgewater State ended the game with a 40-30 edge in rebounds, including a 10-5 lead in offensive rebounds.