Perez and Harris lead Falcons to MASCAC Championship Game after combining for 37 points
Salem, Mass. – The Fitchburg State University men's basketball team defeated the number one seeded Vikings of Salem State University, 90-81 (OT) in semifinal round action of the 2018 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's basketball tournament action this evening at the Twohig Gymnasium.
Score: Fitchburg State 90, Salem State 81
Records: Fitchburg State (13-14) | Salem State (22-4)
How It Happened
Fitchburg State jumped out to an early 17-8 advantage after an 8-0 run as junior Brandon Harris (San Bernardino, Calif.) led the way with six points, while classmate Nicholas Tracy (Indianapolis, Ind.) added one bucket.
Salem State cut the deficit to 25-22 on back-to-back hoops by senior Drew Healy (Lowell, Mass.) and a jumper from fellow senior Shaquan Murray (Boston, Mass.) before the Green and Gold took a 34-29 margin into the break as junior Jonathan Perez (Lowell, Mass.) connected on a layup late in the first half..
Following the break, Fitchburg State extended its margin (65-53), going on an 11-0 stretch as sophomore Tyrell St. John (Stamford, Conn.) sparked the run with four points, while Perez added a trey. The Vikings battled back to knot the score (74-74) though as sophomore Sean Bryan (Lowell, Mass.) drained a three ball with 1.4 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
In the overtime, Salem State regained the lead as Healy connected on an and one to make the score 77-76, but Fitchburg State answered back to take a 78-77 edge with senior Josh Bosworth (Springfield, Mass.) hitting a layup. The Green and Gold secured the win as senior Troy DaCosta (Cambridge, Mass.) converted a pair of clutch layups down the stretch, resulting in the 90-81 final.
Inside the Numbers,
101st meeting between the two schools on the parquet with the Falcons 15-86 all-time when taking on the Vikings.
Salem State had won the last two contests against Fitchburg State, including a 93-85 decision in the last matchup (1/31/18) at the Parkinson Gymnasium.
Fitchburg State was led by Perez with a team-leading 20 points and six rebounds, while Harris added 17 points and three boards.
For Salem State, Healy finished with a game-best 28 points and 11 caroms, while Murray chipped in with 15 points and six rebounds.
Fitchburg State shot 32-for-77 (41.6%) from the field and (6-of-17) 35.3% from beyond the arc.
Salem State went 32--for-74 (43.2%) overall and (5-of-25) 20.0% from three point range.
The Falcons finished with a 50-44 margin on the boards, while the Vikings held a 14-11 edge in assists.
Falcons advance to the 2018 MASCAC Men's Basketball Championship Game on Saturday as they travel to Bridgewater State to take on the Bears for a contest starting at a time to be determined. Vikings conclude their 2018 season with an overall record of 22-4 and a 12-0 clip in conference play.