Advance to MASCAC Semifinals vs. #2 Westfield State
Fitchburg, Mass. – Senior Jonathan Perez (Lowell, Mass.) poured in a game-high 18 points to lead the Fitchburg State University men's basketball team past the Lancers of Worcester State, 67-55, in the quarterfinals of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) tournament on Tuesday night at Parkinson Gymnasium.
Score: Fitchburg State University 67, Worcester State University 55
Records: Fitchburg State (13-13) | Worcester State (11-15)
How It Happened
The Falcons opened the game with an offensive rhythm and reeled off nine straight points including a 3-point baskets from junior Andre Ruff (Chicago, Ill.) and ) and a good tip-in from senior Anselm Edegbe (Benin, Nigeria) to hold an 11-3 advantage with 12 minutes to play. The Lancers battled back to notch the game at 15-15 capped by back-to-back treys from junior Cal Howes (Maynard, Mass.) and sophomore Joe Desormier (Granby, Mass.). The Green and Gold answered with an 11-4 run, including five points from freshman Tayjaun McKenzie (Lynn, Mass.) to push the lead to 29-19. Worcester's junior Tyler Dion (Barre, Mass.) tallied the last basket of the frame to make the halftime margin 29-23.
FSU's Perez opened the second half with the rare 4-point play to extend the hosts lead to 33-23. However, the Lancers would re-group reeling off eight straight to cut the deficit to a basket (33-31). Dion opened the streak with a bucket from beyond-the-arc and sophomore Chris Cardoso (Jamaica Plain, Mass.) finished with one from the charity strip for the visitors.
The Falcons countered with a 15-0 run closed out with six points from Perez to give the Falcons a comfortable lead 50-33 with 9:26 to play. A good jumper from the Lancers' Cardoso closed the gap to 49-59 with three minutes remaining. Fitchburg State sealed the victory with free-throws down the stretch for the 62-49 victory.
Inside the Numbers
- Fitchburg State was led by Perez with a game-best 18 points and seven rebounds, while Ruff added 13 points and 6 caroms. Junior Nicholas Tracy (Indianapolis, In.) added 11 points and seven boards.
- For Worcester State, sophomore Eric Bjorn (Holden, Mass.) posted a team-leading 15 points and eight caroms, while Dion and Cardoso added 12 points apiece.
- Fitchburg State shot 20-for-59 (33.9%) from the field and (8-of-19) 42.1% from beyond the arc.
- The Lancers went 20-for-66 (30.3%) overall and (5-of-25) 20% from three point range.
- Worcester controlled the boards, holding a slim 46-44 margin on the glass.
The Falcons will square off at No.2 Westfield State on Thursday evening at 5:30pm for the semifinal round. Worcester State has concluded their 2018-19 campaign with a record of 11-15.