Men's Basketball Battles Past MCLA, 75-64

Men's Basketball Battles Past MCLA, 75-64

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Junior guard Ryan Carney (Easton, Mass.) scored a game-high 23 points, including 15 in the second half, to lead the Bridgewater State University men's basketball team to a 75-64 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) victory over visiting MCLA on Wednesday evening at the Tinsley Center.

Junior forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, Mass.) and sophomore center Nick Crocker (Falmouth, Mass.) each posted double-doubles for the host Bears who improve to 6-13 on the season and 4-3 in the MASCAC. The visiting Trailblazers fall to 5-15 overall and 1-7 in conference play with the setback.

Carney connected on 8 of 19 field goals and was 3-for-9 from behind the arc with all three trifectas coming in the second half. He also went 4-for-4 at the free throw line and added five rebounds and a pair of assists.

Ward finished with 12 points and a career-high 21 rebounds (four offensive) to go along with four assists, a steal and a blocked shot as he recorded his ninth straight double-double and 11th of the season. He became just the third Bear in the last 15 years to crack the 20-rebound barrier.

Crocker equaled his career-high with 16 points and grabbed 11 boards with four coming off the offensive glass. He also checked in with three blocks, an assists and a steal.

Junior forward Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.) added 13 points, three rebounds and four assists for the Bears, while freshman guard Admar Jaramillo (Brockton, Mass.) notched six points and a career-best six rebounds and seven assists to go along with a steal.

Sophomore forward Mike Demartinis (Burlington, Mass.) paced MCLA with 19 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal.

The Bears jumped out to a 10-2 lead 5 ½ minutes into the game. Crocker scored six of the Bears' first ten points. Out of a time out, the Trailblazers answered with an 8-1 run, highlighted by four points from sophomore forward Tanner Owens (Long  Beach, N.Y.), to cut the deficit to one, 11-10, with 11:34 remaining. Bridgewater maintained the lead until MCLA scored the final six points of the half capped off by a Bird uncontested layup to knot the score at 28-28 heading into the break.

Crocker led all players with ten points over the first 20 minutes while Carney added eight. Ward corralled 12 rebounds including four offensive in the opening stanza. Junior guard Antoine Montgomery (Boston, Mass.) led the visitors with eight first-half points.

Both teams struggled with their shooting in the opening stanza especially from behind the arc. The Bears shot 33% (13-39) and went just 1-for-13 (7%) from three-point range. The Trailblazers connected on 38% (11-29) of their field goal attempts, including 0-for-4 from long range, and went just 6-for-11 (54.5%) from the free throw line.

A jumper by sophomore forward Hayden Bird (North Adams, Mass.) to open the second half gave the Trailblazers their first lead of the game. The Bears answered with a Ward baseline jumper and a Carney trifecta to regain the lead, 33-30, with 18:45 remaining. MCLA held Bridgewater to just two points and used a 9-2 run to take a 39-35 lead. Following a Crocker layup, Demartinis drained a three-pointer to give the visitors a five-point (42-37) advantage with 14 minutes left to play.

Carney's hot shooting propelled the Bears back into the lead as he scored eight points over the next four minutes including a pair of three-pointers. The back-to-back trifectas made it a 47-45 game before a Demartinis layup knotted the score with 12 minutes showing on the scoreboard.

Both teams went into a four-minute scoring drought. A Bird layup at the 7:48 mark was quickly answered by a Ward jumper. After a stop, St. Louis knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Bears up by two, 51-49. A driving layup by junior forward Victor Stewart (Boston, Mass.) tied the game before St. Louis buried a three-pointer to give the hosts a 54-51 lead with 5:52 remaining. Two free throws from Demartinis cut the MCLA deficit to one, but back-to-back three-pointers from Jaramillo and St. Louis followed by a St. Louis driving layup in transition gave the Bears a nine-point lead, 62-53 lead and forced a Trailblazer timeout with 3:53 left to play.

Freshman forward Gerald Herbert (Albany, N.Y.) connected on a three-pointer out of the timeout, but Ward answered with a jumper with 3:21 showing on the scoreboard. MCLA, however, missed each of its next three shots as well as a pair of free throws. Jaramillo then converted a tradition three-point play to make it an 11-point game, 67-56, with 1:41 remaining. The Bears went 8-for-9 at the free throw line, including four from Carney, over the final 80 seconds to secure the 75-64 win.

Bridgewater bounced back to shoot 50% in the second half including 6-for-14 (43%) from three-point range. The Bears finished with shooting percentage of 41% (28-69) from the floor, 26% (7-27) from behind the arc and 86% (12-14) at the free throw line.

MCLA shot 35% (25-72) for the game and just 4-for-20 (20%) from long range and 10-for-19 (53%) at the charity stripe.

The Bears finished with a 56-38 rebounding advantage with a 15-11 edge on the offensive glass. The Trailblazers committed just eight turnovers in the game while forcing 19.

The MASCAC schedule continues for both teams on Saturday afternoon. The Bears travel to Westfield State University to take on the Owls at noon, while the Trailblazers entertain the Lancers of Worcester State University at three.

Notes: The BSU single-game record for rebounds is 27 by Keith Richards who accomplished the feat on February 2, 1970. Prior to Ward hitting the 20-rebound mark, Joe Carty (12/28/15 vs. Brockport), Roland Millien (1/22/09 vs. Worcester State) and Tyler Lang (12/30/05 vs. Keene State) were the last three Bears to pull down 20 rebounds in a game.