BRIDGEWATER, Mass. –Junior forward Hakeem Animashaun (Dedham, Mass.) scored a career-high 35 points and junior guard Sean Bryan (Lowell, Mass.) added 28 to lead the visiting Salem State University men's basketball team to a 98-81 victory over Bridgewater State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) matchup on Wednesday evening at the Tinsley Center.
The Vikings improve to 9-8 on the season and 3-1 in the MASCAC, while the Bears fall to 3-12 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
Animashaun connected on 14 of 20 field goal attempts and was also 7-for-10 from the free throw line. He pulled down 11 rebounds to post a double-double with six boards coming off the offensive glass.
Bryan recorded a double-double as well as he corralled 11 rebounds. He also came within two assists of a triple-double as he dished out a game-high eight assists.
Junior guard Ryan Carney (Easton, Mass.) paced Bridgewater State with a team-best 23 points to go along with three assists. Junior forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, N.C.) notched his fifth straight double-double and seventh of the season as he tallied 16 points and ten rebounds as well as a team-best six assists and three blocked shots.
Sophomore forward Nick Crocker (Falmouth, Mass.) added 13 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for the Bears as he posted his first collegiate double-double. Crocker also blocked three shots. Freshman guard Jose Monteiro Jr. (Brockton, Mass.) checked in with 12 points in 14 minutes off the bench, while junior forward Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.) also scored 12 points.
Up 12-9 5 ½ minutes into the first half, the Bears used an 8-2 run to open up a nine-point lead (20-11). Crocker scored four of the eight points during the spurt. Bridgewater extended the advantage to 11 before a 15-4 Viking run highlighted by eight points from Animashaun knotted the score at 28-28 with 6:40 remaining. Later in the period, Salem took its first lead (33-32) since the opening minutes of the contest on a traditional three-point play by senior forward Temitope Bailey (West Springfield, Mass.. The Vikings would ultimately head into the break holding on to a 46-40 advantage.
Animashaun scored 23 points in the first half to lead all players, while Carney tallied 14 points to pace Bridgewater State and Ward added ten. The Vikings shot 53% (20-38) over the first 20 minutes and went 6-for-10 at the free throw line. The Bears connected on 46% (19-41) of their field goal attempt. Bridgewater was whistled for eight fouls in the stanza, while the Salem committed just two and neither team made a three-pointer.
After the Bears closed the gap to three (50-47) following a Crocker three-pointer at the 17:17 mark of the second half, the Vikings used a 13-4 run over the next three minutes, on the strength of six points from Animashaun, to open up a double-digit advantage (63-51). Salem continued to pull away and an 11-0 run, highlighted by eight points from Bryan, helped the visitors take a 22-point lead, 81-59, with 7:44 left to play.
Trailing 86-64 with 5:30 remaining, the Bears outscored the Vikings 15-6 over the next 3 ½ minutes to pull to within 13 (92-79). St. Louis knocked down a pair of three-pointers during the stretch while Carney also connected for a trifecta. On Salem's ensuing possession, however, a Bryan driving layup with the shot clock winding down ended any hopes of a BSU comeback.
Bailey added 12 points, eight rebounds (five offensive), five assists and pair of steals on the evening for the Vikings who shot 55% (37-67) for the game and 70% (19-27) at the free throw line. After not making a three-pointer in the first half, Salem went 5-for-8 (63%) from behind the arc in the second stanza.
The Bears shot 47% (35-75) from the floor, but connected on just 4 of 19 (21%) three-point field goals and made only seven trips to the free throw line (7-for-7).
Salem held a 45-31 rebounding advantage with a 17-12 edge on the offensive glass. The Vikings outscored the Bears 56-40 in the paint and finished with a 20-10 edge in second chance points. Bridgewater was called for 19 fouls for the game, Salem just nine.
The 98 points allowed marked a season-high for the Bears who have given up 90 points or more three times this year.
The MASCAC schedule continues for both team on Saturday afternoon. The Bears travel to Framingham State University for a one o'clock game with the Rams, while the Vikings head to Westfield State University to take on the Owls at noon.