BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Senior guard Shaquan Murray (Boston, Mass.) scored 24 points and senior forward Drew Healy (Lowell, Mass.) posted a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead the visiting Salem State University men's basketball team to an 88-73 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) victory over Bridgewater State University on Wednesday night at the Tinsley Center.
The Vikings, who extend their winning streak to 13 games, improve to 20-3 on the season and a perfect 10-0 in the MASCAC. Salem clinched at least a share of the conference regular season title and the top seed in the upcoming MASCAC Tournament. The Bears, who snapped a five-game winning streak, fall to 14-8 overall and 7-2 in the MASCAC.
Salem overcame an outstanding effort from BSU sophomore forward Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.). St. Louis poured in a game and career-high 27 points to go along with seven rebounds and four steals.
Sophomore forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, N.C.) added 17 points and five boards for the Bears, while senior forward Joseph Carty (Natick, Mass.) recorded his team-leading 14th double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds in addition to five assists.
Salem used a late 11-3 run in the first half to open up a 45-32 lead with 1:57 remaining in the stanza. The Bears, however, answered with back-to-back three-pointers by St. Louis and Ward to cut the deficit to seven (45-38) as the clock ticked under a minute. A Healy layup with 28 seconds left accounted for the halftime tally of 47-38.
Murray tallied 14 points in the opening stanza to pace the Vikings, while Healy and junior forward Tyreik McCauley (Worcester, Mass.) added 11 apiece. St. Louis led all players with 16 first-half points.
Trailing by 11 (68-57) with under seven minutes remaining in the contest, St. Louis drained a three-pointer and Ward connected for a traditional three-point play to close the gap to 68-63. Senior guard Jacob Lindland (Hamilton, Mass.) answered with a three from the corner to push the Salem advantage back up to eight (71-63) with just under six minutes left to play. A pair of free throws by Ward and two by Carty were sandwiched around a Lindland jumper as the Bears trailed 73-67 with 4:20 remaining. The Vikings then took over from there, outscoring the Bears 15-6 the rest of the way to come away with the 88-73 victory.
McCauley finished with 15 points, four rebounds, three assists for the Vikings, while senior guard Rayshaw Matthews (Boston, Mass.) added 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Salem shot 55% (32-58) for the game and 7-for-15 (47%) from three-point range. The Vikings also went 17-for-20 (85%) at the free throw line.
St. Louis connected on 11 of 19 field goals including 4-for-8 from behind the arc. As a team, Bridgewater shot just 38% (27-71) from the floor and 8-for-27 (30%) from long range. The Bears did convert 11 of 12 (92%) free throw attempts.
The MASCAC schedule continues for both teams on Saturday afternoon at three. The Bears travel to Framingham State University while the Vikings head to Westfield State University.