WORCESTER, Mass. – The visiting Bridgewater State University men's basketball team held off Worcester State University in overtime, 89-88, on Wednesday evening in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) matchup at Brissette Court.
The Bears improve to 8-16 on the season and 6-5 in the MASCAC, while the host Lancers fall to 11-13 overall and 4-7 in conference play. Bridgewater is tied for third place in the MASCAC standings along with Fitchburg State University, while Worcester is tied for fifth place with Framingham State University.
Junior forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, N.C.) posted a double-double with 26 points and a game-high 16 rebounds to lead the way for the Bears. Ward connected on 10 of 17 field goal attempts and was a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc. He also notched four assists and three steals.
Junior forward Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.) added 22 points, three boards, two assists and a pair of steals for the Bridgewater State. St. Louis went 7-for-11 from the floor including 6-for-10 from three-point range. Junior guard Ryan Carney (Easton, Mass.) and freshman guard Admar Jaramillo (Brockton, Mass.) checked in with ten points apiece. Carney, who now has 960 points in his career, also dished out a game-best eight assists.
Junior guard Tyler Dion (Barre, Mass.) paced Worcester State with a game-high 33 points as he went 8-for-14 from long range. Sophomore forward Erik Bjorn (Holden, Mass.) recorded a double-double with 18 points and a team-best 12 board for the Lancers, while junior forward Frantz Francois (Boston, Mass.) also posted a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds in 36 minutes off the bench.
Bridgewater hung on for the victory despite watching an 18-point lead in the first half slip away. The Bears led 46-28 with under 25 seconds remaining in the opening stanza. Dion then dropped in a layup and knocked down a transition three-pointer off his own steal to cut the deficit to 46-33 heading into the break. The Lancers then proceeded to outscore the Bears, 17-4, over the first 5 ½ minutes of the second half to knot the score at 50-50. Bjorn tallied eight points and Dion seven during the run which was capped off by a Francois layup.
The game was close the rest of the way with neither team leading by more than six points in the second half. Trailing 73-70 with 3 ½ minutes left to play in the stanza, BSU sophomore guard Jonathan Mercado (Lynn, Mass.) knocked down a jumper to make it a one-point game. After Dion made 1 of 2 free throws, sophomore forward Nick Crocker (Falmouth, Mass.) dropped in a pair at the charity stripe to tie the game at 74-74 with 2:57 remaining. Each team failed to score on their ensuing possession. Ward then came up with clutch steal and breakaway dunk to put the Bears up by two (76-74). Bjorn, however, answered with two free throws at the other end of the floor to knot the score at 76-76 with 1:51 remaining. Neither team would score again as the final seven possessions of the period consisted of three turnovers, three missed shots and a missed free throw on the front end of a one-on-one.
Ward started the overtime session with a three-pointer and Carney followed with a driving layup to give the Bears an 81-76 lead. A Dion trifecta was answered by a Ward layup before Jaramillo and Francois exchanged three-pointers as the Bears clung to an 86-82 advantage as the clock ticked under two minutes. Two free throws by St. Louis following a key offensive rebound by Carney made it an 88-82 game with 1:12 showing on the scoreboard. Dion then connected on a pair of clutch three-pointers with the second coming after a Francois offensive board to tie the score at 88-88 with just ten second left to play. With the game clock ticking down, Carney was fouled going to the hoop and made 1 of 2 at the line to put the Bears up by one (89-88) with just three seconds remaining. A desperation three-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark as Bridgewater held on for the win.
Bridgewater shot 47% (34-72) for the game including an impressive 12-for-24 (50%) from behind the arc. Worcester connected on 43% (32-75) of its field goals attempts and went 10-for-28 (36%) from three-point range.
The Bears' fourth overtime game of the season, and second in the last five days, featured ten ties and five lead changes. Bridgewater is a perfect 4-0 in the overtime games.
Both teams wrap up regular season play on Saturday afternoon . The Bears host Fitchburg State at one, while the Lancers travel to Westfield State University to take on the Owls at noon.
Notes: The win marked the the 200th regular season MASCAC victory for head coach Joe Farroba.