SALEM, Mass. -- Junior guard Sean Bryan (Lowell, Mass.) poured in 32 points, with ten rebounds and four steals as top-seeded Salem State University defeated #4 Bridgewater State University, 93-80, in the semifinal round of the 2019 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Men's Basketball Tournament on Thursday night at Twohig Gymnasium.
The Vikings (17-9) will host the MASCAC championship game, which will be played on Saturday afternoon at one, against #2 Westfield State University. The Bears end the season with an overall record of 9-18.
Bryan connected on 12 of 21 field goals attempts including 3-for-7 from behind the arc.
Junior forward Hakeem Animashaun (Dedham, Mass.) posted a double-double of 18 points (FG 8-11) and 12 rebounds for Salem, while senior forward Temitope Bailey (West Springfield, Mass.) added 15 points. Animashaun, who also dished out three assists and blocked two shots, connected on 8 of 11 field goal attempts.
Junior guard Ryan Carney (Easton, Mass.) paced Bridgewater State with 27 points, three rebounds and five assists, while junior forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, N.C.) tallied 24 points and a team-best nine boards. Carney went 9-for-15 from the floor including 6 of 9 from three-point range. He was also a perfect 3-for-3 at the free throw line. Ward will enter his senior season with 960 career points.
The teams battled evenly over the first nine minutes until Bryan drained a three to give the Vikings a six-point lead, 19-13 at the 11:01 mark. Salem State continued to build on its lead in the closing minutes of the half. An Animashaun bucket in transition made the score 32-21 with 5:40 left. The Vikings would ultimately take a 44-33 advantage into the break.
Salem State shot 47.4% (18-38) from the field in the first half, while Bridgewater State connected on 42.4% (14-33) of its field goal attempts. The Vikings managed 26 points in the paint with the help of Animashaun and Bailey.
Bailey and Animashaun each had 11 points and Bryan scored ten to pace Salem State in the opening stanza. For the Bears, Carney scored 11 points and Ward added nine points and seven rebounds.
Early in the second half, Bridgewater State countered with an 11-4 run, trimming the deficit to four, 48-44 as Ward hit a three at the 17:08 mark. Later in the period, BSU junior forward Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.) collected an offensive board and made the putback to tie the game at 55-55 with 14:02 left in the second half as the Bears erased the 11-point halftime deficit. St. Louis finished with 14 points on 6 of 11 shooting to go along with six rebounds.
Bryan then exploded with his own 10-0 run, nailing back-to-back threes while converting twice in the post as Salem State built the lead back to double-digits. The Vikings continued to surge, as sophomore guard Alex De La Rosa (Boston, Mass.) drilled a trifecta to give Salem State an 81-70 lead with 3:40 remaining. The Vikings would get up by as many as 18 points (91-73) in the closing minutes before coming away with the 93-80 victory.