Lee and Bell record 23 points each for Falcons in non-conference victory
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Senior Kwame Lee and junior Jaleel Bell registered 23 points each to the lift the Fitchburg State men's basketball team to an 82-74 win over the Golden Bears of Western New England University in non-conference action at the Alumni Healthful Living Center this afternoon.
The Falcons were led by Lee, who finished with a game-best 23 points, eight rebounds, two assists, three steals and one block, while Bell registered 23 points, nine caroms, four assists and one steal for the Green and Gold.
For Western New England, freshman Mikey Pettway posted a team-leading 22 points, three boards, three assists and one steal, while junior Mike Gelineau added 21 points, seven caroms, one assist and three steals for the hosts.
Fitchburg State and Western New England proceeded to trade baskets through the opening ten minutes of the first half before the Golden Bears went on a 9-3 run with 8:49 remaining in the frame Pettway led the charge with six points, while newcomer Tyler Johnson added a three pointer to make the score 28-23.
With the score 38-31, the Falcons cut into the deficit with a layup Bell and a pair of free throws from Lee (38-35). The hosts responded with a 7-2 stretch on a jumper from Johnson, two free throws by Gelineau and a trey from senior Luis Agrait as Western took a six point lead into the break (45-39).
Following intermission, the Falcons went on an 11-2 run to open the second half on a trio of three points from Lee, freshman Tysaul Horton and Bell, while Lee and junior Leonny Burgos sank one free-throw each as Fitchburg State took a two point lead, 50-48 just three minutes into the second half.
With the score 53-52, the Green and Gold reclaimed the lead, going an 11-2 streak as junior guard Lance Hill sparked the run with a layup and trey ball, while Bell added four points with a jumper and two free throws to make the score 63-55.
Western New England battled back yet again, going on a 8-0 run to knot the score at 63-63 with 7:40 remaining in the contest. Pettway ignited the run for the Golden Bears, scoring six of the eight points for the hosts.
Fitchburg State reclaimed the lead for good following the run on a jumper from senior Givaughn Jones and pair of free throws by Bell for the 67-63 advantage before the Falcons secured its seventh win on the season as Burgos and Bell knocked down four free throws to close out the contest, resulting in the 82-74 final.
Overall, Fitchburg State shot a 38.7% (24-of-62) from the field, while going 9-for-20 (45.0%) from beyond the arc. Western New England finished 41.9% (25-for-62) overall, including 7-of-22 (31.8%) from three point range. The Falcons also controlled the glass, holding a 44-38 margin, including a 15-12 advantage on the offensive end.
Fitchburg State (7-6; 0-0 MASCAC) returns to the hardwood on Wednesday as it opens MASCAC play by hosting the Owls of Westfield State at 7:30 p.m. Western New England (3-6, 1-2 TCCC) will host Wentworth on Tuesday for a contest starting at 7:30 p.m.