Salem, Mass. - Anthony Muccioli scored 27 points as the Falcons of Fitchburg State defeated the Vikings of Salem State 81-69 Thursday night at Twohig Gymnasium. The Falcons improve their record to 13-7 this season and go to 5-3 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC). Salem State slips to 10-9 this season and 2-5 in conference play. The game was made up after Saturday's postponement due to court conditions.
Salem State opened up with a commanding 13-2 lead that was led by Hamed Akanni, who accounted for four points through the stretch. However, the tables turned when the Falcons retaliated quickly with a 16-0 run that gave them an 18-13 edge with just over seven minutes left in the first half. After each team went on their run, the game's tempo slowed down, and the teams went bucket-for-bucket for the remainder of the half. Muccioli led all scorers with 10 points in the half including a three-pointer that broke a tie to hold momentum after the Falcons scoring spree. The Vikings' three-point shooting has been streaky this past month, but came alive in the first half as they shot 46%, including a made three by Shaquan Murray before the half that gave Salem State a 36-31 advantage heading into the second.
Down 49-45 with just over 12 minutes left in the game, Christian Dunston converted on a four-point play after sinking a three-pointer and being fouled on the way down by Salem State's Jon Perez. After trading baskets, Fitchburg State took a seven-point lead and the momentum after Muccioli drained a trey ball off a turnover with seven minutes on the clock. The lead allowed the Falcons to maintain a steady edge, forcing the Vikings to intentionally foul in the hopes of making a comeback. However, Fitchburg State's shooters came prepared as they went 13-16 at the free throw line to secure the 81-69 victory in an important conference game.
Givaughn Jones had 13 points while Jalen Williams dropped 12 points, nine rebounds. Kwame Lee also contributed with 10 points in the winning effort
Salem State was led by Tariq Tate who knocked in 13 points. Nicholas Grassa and Akanni each finished with 12 and Bryan Ortiz added 11 points for the Vikings, which shot just 9-25 (36%) from three-point range.
The Vikings will host the Lancers of Worcester State University on February 7th at 3:00 pm while the Falcons travel to North Adams to take on the Trailblazers of MCLA on February 7th for a 3:00 pm start time as well.
COURTESY OF SALEM STATE SID DEPARTMENT