Lee nets a game high 21 points in Falcons victory
FITCHBURG, Mass. – The Fitchburg State men's basketball team were able to hold off Rhode Island College in the final seconds, winning their second consecutive game 77-73 in a non-conference thriller at the Parkinson Gymnasium.
The game opened with each team exchanging buckets, followed the visiting Anchormen gaining their first lead of the game six minutes in, when freshman Jimmy Fritzson hit a three pointer, giving his team a 10-7 edge in the early goings.
With 8:41 remaining in the first half, junior Leonny Burgos knotted the score at 15 apiece, after driving to the paint and converting the lay-up opportunity.
Senior Anthony Muccioli would put his team up with a jump shot inside the three-point line, but the visiting team regained their lead as Fritzson hit his third three ball of the half to propel a 21-2 run for Rhode Island College over the next four minutes, giving them a 36-23 advantage.
In the final two minutes of the half, the Green and Gold began to chip away at the Anchormen lead, going on a 10-2 run lasting until the final seconds with senior guard Givaughn Jones leading the comeback, converting six points during the stretch en route to a 40-33 lead for the visitors going into the break.
Rhode Island College opened up the second half of play with baskets by freshman Justin Campbell, junior Terrance Tribble, and sophomore Roosevelt Shider, to push their lead to a game-high 15 points (48-33) in the first minutes following the break in action.
At the 16:39 mark of the second half and trailing by 14 (49-35), the Falcons would go on a 19-4 stretch, led by junior Kwame Lee, who had 12 of his game-high 21 points during the six-minute run, tying the game at 53 points for each team.
With over seven minutes remaining and the lead just seven points away, the Falcons would go on another timely scoring run. Started by a Burgos lay-in, the 13-2 stretch would give the Green and Gold a 74-69 lead with 2:09 left on the clock.
Tribble would answer back for the Anchormen, making back-to-back layups to cut the Falcon lead to one (74-73). After a made free throw from Burgos, Rhode Island College had a chance to tie the contest with ten seconds remaining. However, their floater from the paint clunked off the front rim and into the hands of Lee, who made both chances from the charity stripe, resulting in the final score of 77-73.
Lee led the way for Green and Gold in the win, leading all scorers in the contest with 21 points (7-of-11) to compliment his seven rebounds and one block. Alongside Lee, the Falcons had three others in double-digits for points as sophomore Josh Bosworth, senior Givaughn Jones, and Burgos each eclipsed the 10-point mark.
For Rhode Island College, Tribble picked up 17 points, nine rebounds, and two helpers. Tribble was one of four Anchormen to score in double-digits during the loss, alongside sophomore Chris Green, Fritzon, and Shider.
In the contest, Rhode Island College shot well from the field, as their 27-of-55 mark (49.1%) was slightly better than Fitchburg State, who shot 29-of-68 (42.6%) overall. The Anchormen also led from beyond the arc, knocking down 7-of-16 (43.9%) to the Falcons 2-of-11 (18.2%) mark from downtown.
The Green and Gold were outmuscled in their victory, dropping the rebound battle 45 to 30, but were the better team in terms of turnovers, forcing 25 turnovers to Rhode Island College's 10.
Fitchburg State (2-2, 0-0 MASCAC) will be back in action on Saturday, as they travel to Becker College for a 1 p.m. match with the Hawks. Rhode Island College (1-1, 0-0 Little East) will also return to the court on Saturday, as they take on the Judges of Brandeis at 3 p.m.
Release Courtesy of Fitchburg State student journalist Kyle Prudhomme