Late run pushes MCLA past Westfield 75-69
North Adams, MA- The MCLA Men's Basketball scored the final ten poinits to defeat MASCAC rival Westfield State 75-69 Tuesday night at the Amsler Campus Center. MCLA scored the last six points from the free throw line to earn the victory. With the win, MCLA earns their first MASCAC victory while improving to 7-8 overall.
MCLA opened the game strong scoring the first six points of the contest. Sophomore guard Chris Harris (Dorchester, MA) and junior Jon Greenberg (Antwerp, Belguim) keyed the spurt. The Owls would battle back and tie the game early at 7 apiece on a Jesse Benoit layup.
The Trailblazers would go on a 14-4 run to take a 23-11 advantage at the 8:44 mark of the opening half. Senior Mike Perreault (Whitinsville, MA) would spark the rally burying consecutive three pointers to start the run. Westfield would chip away at the lead using a 10-2 run over the last three minutes of the half to pull within three at 40-37.
MCLA would keep the lead but could not stretch it in the opening minutes of the second half. The Owls would eventually pull even at the 12:03 mark on a three pointer from Joe DiCruttalo tying the game at 47 all.
From this point forward the teams would trade the lead six different times with neither team holding more than a four point advantage until the final few minutes.
Westfield would take a three point lead 67-64 on a conventional three point play from Lee Vazquez. After MCLA's Harris knocked in a free throw, the Owls would answer as Vazquez buried another jumper with 1:38 remaining giving Westfield a 69-65 edge.
MCLA would close the game on an 10-0 run over the final 1:38 as consecutive baskets from Harris pulled the Trailblazers even at 69. Westfield appeared poised to take the lead, but Greenberg got a hand on Ryan DeLosa's short jumper with 36 seconds remaining leading to an Owl foul on Asa Abbott. The foul would send Perreault to the line and the senior calmly drained both free throws.
Vazquez took the inbounds the length of the court only to have Harris make a great block as MCLA grabbed the loose ball. With the Owls forced to foul, Perreault knocked them both down again as MCLA now led 73-69 with 14 seconds remaining.
Junior Ben Cuprill (Troy, NY) stole the ball on Westfield's final possesion before being fouled to provide the final margin.
On the night the Trailblazers were led by Greenberg who finished with 21 points and 10 boards. Perreault and Harris would each net 16.
The Owls were led by Nate Pollard who finished with 18 points. Dicruttalo finished with 15 points and 8 assists. Matt Devine added 7 blocks for Westfield.
MCLA returns to action on Thursday when the travel to Framingham.