North Adams, MA- Noah Yearsley scored 16 of his game high 19 points in the second half and Adam Conquest continued his stellar play with 17 points and 17 rebounds as the MCLA men's basketball team rallied past visiting Fitchburg State 79-75 this evening in MASCAC action. The Trailblazers sweep the season series from the Falcons and are now 8-13 and 5-5 in the conference. The Falcons drop to 8-14 and are 3-6 in the league.
MCLA trailed 36-28 at halftime but began the second half with a 7-0 spurt as Joe Wiggins connected on back to back hoops to cut the deficit to just one at 38-37. Fitchburg would extend back out to a six point lead, but could not put MCLA away. Later in the half, a Nicholas Tracy three pointer put the Falcons up 67-61 with 5:42 to play, but MCLA answered with a 9-0 run to take command. Conquest started the run with a conventional three point play while Yearsley added a pair of hoops to give the hosts the lead at 70-67 with 2:46 left in regulation.
Fitchburg battled back and took their final lead when Jonathan Perez was fouled on a three point attempt. He drained all of his free throws to make it 72-71 in favor of Fitchburg with just 1:20 remaining. Yearsley came up big on the next offensive possession grabbing an offensive rebound, then draining a corner three to give MCLA the lead back at 74-72. Perez had a good look for the Falcons on the next possession, but was off the mark forcing the Falcons to foul. Keiland Cross converted one free throw to make it 75-72, but FSU had life with under 30 seconds to play. Perez ultimately turned it over and when Yearsley converted a reverse layup, it was 77-72 MCLA with just 22 seconds remaining.
Brandon Harris would drill a deep three with 19 seconds left to pull Fitchburg within two, but forced again to foul, MCLA sent Hayden Bird to the stripe. The freshman knocked down one free throw making it 78-75, but giving the ball back to the Falcons. Perez missed a contested three pointer and Quran Davis was fouled for MCLA, and his free throw with four seconds left sealed the win for the Trailblazers.
Yearsley went 8-13 from the floor and 3-7 from beyond the arc for his 19 point night. Conquest was a force down low with his double double effort. He was just 6-15 shooting, but a solid 5-5 from the FT line. Keiland Cross ended with 11 points, but added 6 rebounds and 6 assists in the win. MCLA shot 42% from the floor in the contest.
The Falcons were led by Tracy's team high 19 point night. He went 8-11 from the field, but battled second half foul trouble. He added 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Perez added 12 points off the bench while Harris and Charles Doss each had 10 points.
MCLA is back in action on Saturday when they host Pine Manor at noon. That game will be played at Williams College.