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Second-Half Comeback Lifts Fitchburg State Past Brigewater State, 72-61

Second-Half Comeback Lifts Fitchburg State Past Brigewater State, 72-61

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The Fitchburg State University men's basketball team notched a come-from-behind 72-61 decision at Bridgewater State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) contest on Saturday afternoon at the Tinsley Center.

The Falcons improve to 13-8 on the season and 6-2 in the MASCAC with the win, while the host Bears slip to 8-12 overall and 4-4 in conference play.

Junior guard Jaleel Bell (Dorchester, Mass.) paced the Falcons with 14 points, four rebounds, a pair of assists and five steals. Sophomore forward Josh Bosworth (Springfield, Mass.) added 13 points, four boards two assists and two steals, while junior guard Leonny Burgos (Lawrence, Mass.) filled the stat sheer with12 points, three rebounds, three assists a blocked shot and four steals.

Sophomore forward Joseph Carty (Natick, Mass.) led the way for Bridgewater State with game-high totals of 15 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Rocky DeAndrade (Mansfield, Mass.) checked in with 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and a pair of steals, while junior guard Fawaz Mass (Taunton, Mass.) added 14 points, three boards and three assists.

Trailing 19-9 midway through the first half, the Bears used a 12-4 run, highlighted by six points from Mass, to pull to within a basket (23-21) with just under seven minutes remaining in the stanza. Following a Bell three-pointer, Dunleavy connected on back-to-back trifectas to give the Bears their first lead of the game, 27-26.

The rest of the half featured three ties and four lead changes. Down by three (30-27) as the clock ticked under four minutes, a pair of  Mass free throws jumpstarted a 9-2 spurt as the Bears moved ahead 38-32. The teams exchanged baskets in the final 35 seconds with Carty banking in a runner just before the buzzer to give BSU the 40-34 lead heading into the break.

Mass led all scorers with 13 first-half points, while Carty added ten. Burgos paced the Falcons with eight points over the first 20 minutes, while Bell contributed seven.

Three-pointers by DeAndrade and Carty helped the Bears extend their lead to 48-39 four minutes into the second half. However, A Romanko three-pointer marked the only offensive output for the Bears over the next five minutes as the Falcons jumped ahead, 53-31.

A Carney three-pointer with just under 11 minutes left to play gave the Bears a 55-54 lead. After the Falcons tied it with a free throw, DeAndrade buried a trifecta from the corner to put BSU on top, 58-55, with 9:38 remaining.

Bridgewater, however, managed just three free throws the rest of the way as the Fitchburg defense forced seven turnovers and held the Bears to 0-for-10 shooting during that span.

After a pair of DeAndrade free throws gave Bridgewater its final lead of the afternoon, 60-59, at the 7:45 mark. The Falcons outscored the Bears 13-1 the rest of the way to come away with the hard-fought victory. Six different players scored for the visitors during the run.

Fitchburg shot 48% (28-59) from the floor, 40% (4-10) from behind the arc and 67% (12-18) at the free throw line. The Falcons dominated the inside game, outscoring the Bears 42-14 in the paint including 30-0 in the second half. Fitchburg also held 31-18 advantage in points off turnovers as well as a 10-2 edge in second chance points.

Bridgewater connected on 40% (19-47) of its field goal attempts and finished 7-for-20 (35%) from three-points range. The Bears also went 16-for-23 (70%) at the charity stripe.

The MASCAC schedule continues for both teams on Wednesday evening at 7:30. The Bears travel to Salem State University to take on the Vikings, while the Falcons entertain the Lancers of Worcester State University. (Recap courtesy of BSU Sports Information)