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Fitchburg State Claws Past Wheaton, 91-74

Fitchburg State Claws Past Wheaton, 91-74

NORTON, Mass. – Tied 52-52 at halftime, Fitchburg State used a 20-8 run to begin the second stanza and eventually pulled away for a 91-74 victory over the Wheaton College men's basketball team on Thursday night in non-conference action inside Emerson Gymnasium.

Fitchburg State junior forward Givaughn Jones led all scorers and five Falcons in double-figures with 20 points, eight rebounds, a game-high five steals and two assists. Classmate Anthony Muccioli contributed 15 points, while juniors forward Kwame Lee and Keyon Armstrong both tallied 11 points and first-year center Maurice Greene turned in ten points, seven rebounds and one steal in only 14 minutes off the bench.

Lyons' first-year guard Ryan Fogarty registered a career-high 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor (5-for-7 from the line) to go along with five rebounds, four assists, one block and one assist. Senior forward Mike Cannon posted his second double-double of the season with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds (four offensive), while junior guard Billy Battaglia notched 16 points, two assists and one steal. Sophomore forward Zach Parsons added eight points, two boards and one swipe.

In the first half, Wheaton broke open a 16-16 tie (14:24) with a 14-2 run over the next 3:45 of action to fashion a 30-18 margin on the scoreboard. Cannon and Battaglia hit back-to-back treys to begin the spurt and Fogarty converted an old-fashioned three-point play at 11:53 to give the Lyons a 25-16 lead. Parsons followed with a fast break layup on a feed from Battaglia, and after Fitchburg State sophomore guard Christian Dunston buried a jumper at 11:05 to cut into the run, Cannon responded with another 3-pointer on Wheaton's next possession to bump the margin back to 12 points.

The Lyons led by as many as 15 points (8:05) during the first half, but Fitchburg State chipped away at its deficit outscoring the hosts 29-14 down the stretch. Armstrong and Jones both guided the charge with eight points apiece as the Falcons had six student-athletes contribute to the run in total. Armstrong sent the visitors' bench into a frenzy at the end of the half by splashing a three-pointer near the scorer's table on the right wing to tie the game at 52-all as time expired in the stanza.

Fitchburg State went on to use that momentum in the second half outscoring Wheaton 20-8 to begin the frame and never looked back. Greem ignited the Falcons off the bench during its 20-8 run throughout the first 10:40 of play in the final half with a team-high eight points, which included an emphatic put-back dunk through the middle of the lane at the 12:56 mark that gave the visitors a 61-56 advantage.

Greene also slammed home a wide-open dunk off the left block with 7:10 remaining in the contest on a slick pass by sophomore guard Leonny Burgos from the opposite post for 14-point gap (74-60). Fitchburg State's margin extended to as many as 17 points on four separate occasions throughout the remainder of the stanza, which included the final score of 91-74.

Wheaton shot 45.6-percent (26-for-57) from the floor, 30.0-percent (6-for-20) from beyond the arc and 84.2-percent (16-for-19) at the line. Fitchburg State registered a 49.3 field goal percentage (34-for-69), a 41.2 three-point field goal percentage (7-for-17) and a 66.7 free throw percentage (16-for-24). The Falcons held a 30-16 advantage in points off turnovers and a 20-9 differential in second chance points, while the Lyons' bench outscored its opponents 33-26.

Fitchburg State (7-2) welcomes WPI to its campus on Saturday at 1 p.m.  Wheaton (2-4) hosts Bridgewater State University for a non-conference matchup at 1 p.m. 

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