Burgos nets career best 29 points to lift Falcons to key MASCAC victory
SALEM, MASS. – Senior guard Leonny Burgos scored 29 points and added five assists as the Falcons of Fitchburg State defeated Salem State Universit,y 96-83 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference action this evening at Twohig Gymnasium.
The Falcons moved to 9-2 in the MASCAC while enhancing their regular season record to 14-10. The loss dropped the Vikings to 9-3 in conference and 15-10 on the year.
Before the game Salem State honored seniors Marcus Faison and Shyheim Davis-Smith, who were playing in the final regular season home game of their collegiate careers.
Salem State built momentum midway through the first half as they began to connect from long range. Alex Santos pushed his team to a 12-point margin after knocking down three triples in a three-minute span, as he led Salem State with 10 first half points. As a team, the Vikings' shot 46% from beyond the arc, which allowed them to build a double-digit edge.
Rayshaw Matthews paced the Vikings' offense with his great play in transition as he collected four assists to go with seven points. Salem State gained their largest lead of the night, 32-18 when Sean Bryan found Tyreik McCauley from across the court for an easy transition layup with 8:52 remaining.
The Vikings forced 12 Fitchburg State turnovers that were converted into 13 points. However, the Falcons didn't let up despite the deficit as they continued to pound the ball inside as they pursued the comeback.
Junior Joshua Bosworth anchored the Fitchburg State offense with 13 points on 6-7 shooting. Bosworth led the Falcons on a short 7-0 run during the final eight minutes that cut the Salem State lead to just four-points after Burgos knocked down a free throw.
Salem State got into foul trouble early, which granted the Falcons 12 free points during the half. The two teams were both able to score a basket in the final seconds and the Vikings took a slight 45-41 lead heading into halftime.
Salem State's bench production declined dramatically in the second half as they mainly stuck with their top six players. The Vikings' bench tallied 18 points in the first half while it trickled down to only eight in the second half. Fitchburg State dominated in the paint in the second half as they outscored the Vikings' 30-18.
Burgos had a career half for the Falcons, leading the surge with 23 points after only six points in the first half. Burgos used his speed to get past Salem State in transition, which turned into12 fast break points. The Falcons regained a 58-57 lead after a Burgos three with 14:00 minutes remaining.
Santos helped the Vikings get the lead back immediately as he converted on a three-point play with a strong take to the basket. Shaquan Murray enhanced the Salem State lead to 64-58 after knocking down two free throws, but Fitchburg State battled back by continuing to take the ball to the basket where they converted 20-22 free throw attempts after halftime.
A Burgos layup gave the Falcons an 82-80 lead, a lead they wouldn't surrender for the remainder of the game. Fitchburg State went on a 12-2 run over the next four minutes that allowed them to secure the 96-83 win.
Burgos led all scorers with 29 points while Bosworth trailed with 19 points. Senior Jaleel Bell collected a double-double with 17 points and 12 assists. Santos led the way for Salem State with 19 points and five assists while Murray added 18 points in the loss. Faison went over the 750 rebound mark (758, 6th place all-time) with a nine point, nine rebound effort.
Salem State will play next in the MASCAC Tournament while the Falcons have one more home game against the Rams of Framingham State before the start of playoffs on Saturday for a contest starting at 1:00 p.m.
Release courtesy of Salem State SID office