By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The Bridgewater State University men’s basketball team had some momentum on its side heading into the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference schedule.
The Bears put together three consecutive wins to finish off their non-conference slate above the .500 mark.
Bridgewater State continued moving in the right direction on Wednesday night, winning the MASCAC opener.
With Rayshon Ward of Plymouth scoring 25 points and Joseph Carty recording his fifth straight double-double, the Bears improved to 8-6 by defeating the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, 82-71, at the Tinsley Center.
“Like anything else, you’ve got to get that first one,″ said coach Joe Farroba. “Before the game, I put up 7-6 (the overall record) and 0-0 on the board. Everybody feels good right now because we’re all starting the league and it’s a good way to get going.″
BSU used a 19-2 run late in the first half to take control, then held off the Trailblazers (3-9, 0-2) during the second half for a seventh consecutive victory over MCLA.
Ward scored 22 of his 25 points in the first half when he made 8 of 12 shots, helping the Bears lead by as many as 19 before settling on a 52-38 edge at the break.
“Ray carried us in the first half,″ said Farroba of the sophomore who is averaging 15.9 points. “He has some real good potential. He takes pride in his game. He works at it.″
Carty had his eighth double-double of the season in the first half and finished with 24 points on 8-for-12 shooting with 15 rebounds and four assists. He is averaging 16.8 points and 11.8 rebounds.
“Carty just rebounds the heck out of it for us,″ said Farroba. “He’s been real solid all year.″
The Bears struggled at the defensive end during a portion of the first half and held just a 32-30 lead with 7:34 remaining.
But they hit MCLA with the 19-2 run over a span of 5:14 to go up, 51-32. Carty had eight points in that spurt while Ward added five.
After holding a 14-point advantage at halftime, BSU found its lead trimmed to 55-48 less than four minutes into the second half. The Trailblazers got as close as five but were limited to 33 second-half points.
“We only gave up 33 in the second half, and if we do that, we’re going to win a lot of games,″ said Farroba. “We played defense in certain segments where we kind of took control of the game. We did it in the last five minutes of the first half by putting the defense on them and separated. We got into trading baskets too much.″
Joining Ward and Carty in double figures was Rocky DeAndrade with 14 points. Ryan Carney of Easton had seven points, five rebounds and four assists and Dakari Hannah-Wornum chipped in nine rebounds and three blocked shots off the bench.