Bell nets game best 29 points for Falcons in MASCAC setback
WESTFIELD, Mass. – The Fitchburg State men's basketball team opened up conference play this evening, dropping a tough 88-81 decision to the Owls of Westfield State University in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) action at the Woodward Center.
Westfield State opened up an early 10-4 lead following an 8-2 run as senior Jesus Sanchez knocked down a three ball and a jumper, while sophomore Peter Mafo added one bucket for the Owls.
The Owls upped its advantage later in the half, going on a 9-0 streak with senior Evan Hopson, classmate Jose Allen and sophomore Marcus Collins converting baskets, while junior Austin Joseph added a three pointer for the 40-21 lead.
Fitchburg State closed out the half with a 7-2 run, highlighted by four points from senior Jalen Williams and a three ball from junior Jeremiah Ephraim to make the score 43-28 going into the intermission.
Following the break, the Falcons chipped away at the deficit, going on a 12-2 stretch with senior Jaleel Bell connecting on a pair of treys, while Williams and junior Josh Bosworth netted one bucket each for Fitchburg State (56-45).
Westfield State answered back with pair of layups from Collins with just under six minutes left in the contest to make the score 78-64 before the Green and Gold responded with buckets by sophomore Nicholas Tracy and Ephraim, resulting in the in the 88-81 final.
Fitchburg State was led by Bell, who registered a game-best 29 points, ten rebounds and four assists, while Williams added 14 points, three caroms, one assist and one block. Tracy was also solid for the Falcons, collecting ten points, three boards, four assists and two steals off the bench.
For Westfield State, Allen posted a team-leading 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals, while junior Allister Williams chipped in with 18 points, seven boards, four assists and two steals.
Throughout the contest, Fitchburg State shot 36.3% (31-of-67) from the field as well as a solid 6-for-15 (40.0%) from three point range. Westfield State finished 32-for-72 (44.4%) overall and 50.0% (10-of-23) from beyond the arc.
Fitchburg State (4-6, 0-1 MASCAC) returns to action on Saturday as it hosts the Mountaineers of Southern Vermont for a contest starting at 1 p.m. Westfield State (4-8, 1-0 MASCAC) will travel to MCLA on Saturday for a 1 p.m. tipoff.