North Adams, MA- Salem State's Sean Bryan scored 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out 7 assists to the lead the Viking men's basketball team to a hard fought 87-79 win over the MCLA Trailblazers this evening in MASCAC action. The Vikings, the MASCAC regular season champions, finish the regular season at 16-9 and 10-2 in the MASCAC. MCLA falls to 6-17 and is now 2-9 in the conference.
The Vikings trailed 44-40 at halftime but they used an explosive 21-4 spurt to open the second half and never trailed again. Bryan Martinez scored the first six points to get the run started and when Fern Berard made a free throw, the Vikings held their largest lead of the night at 61-48 with 14:32 remaining. MCLA responded on Hayden Bird's triple and kept within striking distance.
The Trailblazers would pull within three points on Bird's jumper with 4:38 left to play making it 72-69. Bryan scored the next four points for the Vikings though and MCLA never got any closer the rest of the way.
The first half was well played as each team shot 44% from the floor. MCLA trailed 21-18 after SSU's Chris MacDonald canned a three pointer with 11 minutes left. From there, MCLA went on a 9-0 spurt capped off by Quran Davis' free throws and the Trailblazers led 27-21. MCLA moved to their largest lead of the half at 34-26 when Hayden Bird drilled a three with 4:37 left til halftime. Salem would rally though and close within 44-40 at the break.
Davis sparked MCLA with ten points in the opening half while Temitope Bailey collected 14 points for the Vikings. MCLA was 6-14 shooting from beyond the arc in the opening half of play.
Bryan was 6-14 from the floor for the Vikings. Temitope Bailey was outstanding as well scoring a game high 20 points and pulling down 11 boards for his own double double. Martinez and Evan Mason each ended with 14 points. Mason chipped in 11 rebounds to help the Vikings hold a 49-37 edge off the glass.
MCLA will wrap up play on Saturday when they head to Framingham State in the season finale.