Westfield, Mass. – Senior guard Jonathan Perez (Lowell, Mass.) sank two free throws with just 0.3 seconds left as the Fitchburg State University men's basketball team defeated the Owls of Westfield State University 79-77 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) action this evening from the Woodward Center.
Score: Fitchburg State 79, Westfield State 77
Records: Fitchburg State (8-9, 4-1 MASCAC) | Westfield State (10-8, 3-2 MASCAC)
How It Happened
Fitchburg State raced out to an early 10-0 lead as junior Andre Ruff (Chicago, Ill.) buried a three-pointer before Westfield State answered with a jumper by sophomore Christopher Prophet (Springfield, Mass.). The Falcons extended their margin (28-8) on a three ball from freshman Tayjaun McKenzie (Lynn, Mass.), but the Owls would respond with as Prophet hit a three-pointer of his own to cut the lead to 29-16.
The Green and Gold upped its lead (33-18) on a layup by junior Charles Doss (Fitchburg, Mass.) before the Owls chipped away at the deficit with sophomore Malik Pouncy (Mattapan, Mass.) connecting on a bucket (35-20). Fitchburg State went on a 14-4 run to close out the half however with junior Nicholas Tracy (Indianapolis, Ind.) leading the way with five points to make the score 49-34 going into the break.
Following the intermission, Fitchburg State pushed its lead to 54-36 on a three-pointer by junior Tyrell St. John (Stamford, Conn.), but Westfield State went on an 11-0 run, keyed by eight points from junior Jauch Green, Jr (Hartford, Conn.) to cut the lead to 54-47.
The Falcons answered back as Tracy and Doss hit jumpers to make the score 63-57 before both teams traded three-pointer with Ruff knocking one down for the Green and Gold, while Green, Jr buried one for the Owls (68-60).
Trailing 77-70 with two and half minutes to play, Westfield State battled back to knot the score (77-77) on a three ball Pouncy. Fitchburg State secured the victory though as Perez sank a pair from the free-throw line with just 0.3 seconds remaining in the contest, resulting in the 79-77 final.
Inside the Numbers
- Falcons were paced by Ruff with a team-best 20 points and three boards
- Tracy added 17 points and five assists for Fitchburg State
- Green, Jr posted a game-best 33 points and 11 caroms for the Owls
- Prophet chipped in with 19 points and four rebounds for Westfield State
- 112th meeting between two schools with Falcons 29-83 all-time vs the Owls
- Fitchburg State shot 29-for-66 (43.9%) from the field and (10-for-21) 47.6% from three point land
- Westfield State finished 26-of-63 (41.3%) overall and (6-for-21) 28.6% from beyond the arc
- Fitchburg State held a 43-38 margin on the glass
- Owls finished with a 36-24 edge in points in the paint
Falcons will host the Bears of Bridgewater State on Thursday for a MASCAC matchup, starting at 5:30 PM. Owls will travel to Worcester State on the same date for a conference tilt at 5:30 PM.