BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Senior guard Fawaz Mass (Taunton, Mass.) scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Bridgewater State University men's basketball team to a 72-61 victory over visiting Salem State University on Wednesday evening at the Tinsley Center.
The Bears improve to 13-9 on the season and 6-3 in the MASCAC, while the Vikings fall to 14-9 overall and 8-2 in conference play. With the loss, Salem's lead in the MASCAC standings was trimmed to a ½ game over Fitchburg State University.
Mass, who connected on 7 of 14 field goal attempts, also finished with five rebounds.
BSU junior forward Joseph Carty (Natick, Mass.) recorded his third straight double-double and eighth of the season with 18 points and ten rebounds. Fifteen of Carty's 18 points came in the second half. Senior guard Patrick McGuinness (New City, N.Y.) notched his first career double-double as he scored 11 points on 5 of 9 shooting and pulled down a career-best 11 rebounds.
Junior guard Rocky DeAndrade (Mansfield, Mass.) rounded out the Bears' double digit scorers as he finished with 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting to go along with six rebounds and three assists.
Sophomore guard Alexander Santos (Lawrence, Mass.) paced the visiting Vikings with 21 points, while junior guard Shaquan Murray (Boston, Mass.) chipped in with ten.
Leading by three in the early stages of the first half, the Bears used a 9-2 run to open up a double-digit advantage at 18-8. Mass scored four points during the spurt while Carty connected on a three-pointer and DeAndrade capped it off with a layup.
Bridgewater's lead fluctuated between six and 11 points over the next 11 minutes. A DeAndrade traditional three-point play gave the Bears their biggest lead of the half, 35-23, with 1:17 remaining. Bridgewater, however, turned the ball over twice in the final minute. Junior guard Jacob Lindland's (Hamilton, Mass.) long three-pointer with 24 seconds left pulled the Vikings to within nine, 35-26, as the two teams headed to the break.
Mass led all scorers with 13 points over the first 20 minutes, while DeAndrade added nine. Murray paced the Vikings with eight points.
The Bears shot 50% (15-30) in the first half and held a 26-14 rebounding advantage, but also turned the ball over ten times. The Vikings connected on just 30% (10-33) of their field goal attempts including 3-for-13 (23%) from three-point range. Salem also missed four free throws (3-for-7) in the opening half and was called for a lane violation on another attempt.
The Vikings carried the momentum into the second half as they outscored the Bears 12-4 over the first four minutes and pulled to within one, 39-38, on a Santos three-pointer. Moments later, junior forward Drew Healy (Lowell, Mass.) knocked down a jumper to give the visitors their first lead of the game. A Santos jumper and three-pointer capped off the 19-4 run as the Vikings extended their lead to 45-39 and forced the Bears' second timeout of the half.
Bridgewater answered with a 9-0 run to jump back on top, 48-45. Carty started the run with a three-pointer and also added a short runner.
Later in the stanza, a McGuinness trifecta followed by a Carty layup extended the BSU advantage to 53-47 as the clock ticked under eight minutes.
Over the next three minutes, \a three-pointer by Santos followed by back-to-back layups from Lindland and Murray put the Vikings back in front, 54-53.
Mass knocked down two free throws at the other end of the floor and, following a stop, Carty dropped in a layup to give the Bears a 57-54 lead.
After Santos made 1 of 2 free throws to cut the deficit to two, Mass converted a four-point play to extend the BSU advantage to 61-55 lead with 2:26 remaining. Santos responded with a trifecta, but Carty answered right back with a three-ball of his own to keep it a six-point cushion (64-58) with 1:22 left to play. Five unanswered free throws (three from Carty and two by Mass) put the game out of reach as the Bears pulled away for the 72-61 victory.
Bridgewater shot 45% (26-58) for the game including 5-for-15 (33%) from behind the arc. The Bears also went 15-for-21 (71%) from the free throw line. Salem shot 34% (24-70) from the floor and 8-for-24 (33%) from three-point range. The Vikings struggled mightily at the free throw line converting just 5 of 14 attempts from the stripe.
The MASCAC schedule continues for both teams on Saturday afternoon at one. The Bears travel to Worcester State University, while the Vikings host Westfield State University.