FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Behind 22 points, six assists and six steals from sophomore guard Matt McLaughlin (Rochester, MA), the fifth seeded Bridgewater State College men's basketball team defeated the fourth seeded Framingham State Rams, 74-65, in the opening round of the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Men's Basketball Tournament.
With the win, the Bears (13-12) advance to the semifinals to play top seeded Salem State in Salem on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. With the loss, the Rams finish their season at 12-14.
Bridgewater State led by as many as 13 in the opening half and used their defense to open up a ten point half time lead at 36-26. The Bears defense, led by McLaughlin who had five swipes in the first half, forced the Rams to commit 14 first half turnovers which the Bears were able to convert into 14 easy points. The Bears defense kept the Rams offense off balance as they held them to just 35.5% shooting from the floor in the first half, while the Bears connected on 44.4% of their offerings.
In the second half the Rams outscored the Bears 39-38 but could not overcome the halftime deficit. They were able to cut the Bears lead to six on a three by sophomore Bill Carey (Abington, MA) with 51.6 seconds remaining. That was as close as the Rams would get as the Bears sank 5 of 7 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
McLaughlin, with his career-high 22 points, led three Bears who finished in double figures. Junior forward Roland Millien (Stoughton, MA), who was dominant inside all game, finished with a double-double with 19 points on 8 of 10 and a game-high 12 boards. Freshman forward Judah Jackson (Everett, MA) added in 10 points and four rebounds.
The Rams offense was led by Carey, who scored a team high 18 points but was only 5 of 16 from the floor and 4 of 15 from long range. Freshmen guards Royce Veal (Dorchester, MA) and Michael Hines (Boston, MA) added 12 and 10 points respectively.