FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – Senior guard Rocky DeAndrade (Mansfield, Mass.) scored 17 points and sophomore forward Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.) added 15 to lead the visiting Bridgewater State University men's basketball team to a 69-64 victory over Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) foe Framingham State University on Saturday afternoon at the Athletic Center.
The Bears, who improved to 15-8 on the season and 8-2 in the MASCAC, secured the #2 seed in the upcoming MASCAC Tournament with the win. The host Rams fell to 6-18 overall and 2-9 in conference play.
DeAndrade connected on 6 of 11 field goals including 3-for-6 from behind the arc. St. Louis was a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line while adding three rebounds, a pair of steals and three blocked shots.
BSU sophomore forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, N.C.) recorded a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds to go along with three assists.
The Rams were paced by junior forward Charles Valbrun (Hyde Park, Mass.) who had a game-high 18 points shooting 7-of-9 from the floor and 4-of-6 from long range. Junior guard Manny Payton (Fitchburg, Mass.) added 13 points while senior guard Kenny Seitz (Milford, Mass.) and sophomore forward Lorenzo Fernandes (Smithfield, R.I.) added ten each.
Bridgewater held off a late second-half surge by the Rams to come away with the key conference win.
After a neck-and-neck first 15 minutes of play, the Bears pulled away before the intermission. A Seitz trifecta cut the Bears' lead to 30-29, but the visitors snapped off a 13-3 run to end the half and head into the locker room up 43-32. St. Louis scored five points, including a dunk, during the spurt.
DeAndrade scored 15 of his team-best 17 points in the opening stanza.
The Bears would lead by as much as 15 early in the second half and would hover around a ten-point lead for most of the frame until the Rams made their charge in the closing minutes. Trailing by nine with just under four minutes to play, Payton converted a layup and then went 2-for-3 from the line after being fouled on a three-point attempt to cut the deficit to 63-58. Out of a timeout, FSU freshman center James Purcell (Leominster, Mass.) came up with a key block and dropped in a layup on the ensuing possession to trim the Bears' lead to three, 63-60. After the Bears' missed the front end of a one-on-one, Framingham had a chance to tie the game but a three-pointer was off the mark.
A traditional three-point play by Ward out of a BSU timeout with 50 seconds remaining pushed the Bears' lead back up to six, 66-60. Valbrun converted a layup and was fouled at the other end of the floor with 32 seconds left to play but could not hit his and-one attempt. Bridgewater went 3-for-4 at the charity stripe in the final 20 seconds to secure the win.
The Bears shot 45% (23-51) from the floor and 33% (5-15) from behind the arc, while the Rams converted 46% (25-55) of their field goal attempts and went 7-for-15 (47%) from long range. Bridgewater, however, finished 18-for-22 (82%) at the line, while Framingham connected on just 7 of 13 (54%) free throw attempts.
The Rams return to the court next Saturday afternoon (3:00 PM) when they close the regular season at MCLA. The Bears entertain Worcester State University on Wednesday night at 7:30.