FITCHBURG, Mass. – Fitchburg State University's Jaleel Bell (Dorchester, Mass.) led all scorers with 28 points and added 11 rebounds as the Falcons downed Worcester State University 84-70 in Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's basketball action on Wednesday night at the Parkinson Gymnasium.
Both teams had three players in double figures. Senior Ryan DiBernardo (Springfield, Mass.) poured in a team-high 18 points to lead the visitors, while classmate Paul Brooks (Arlington, Mass.) contributed a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Cal Howes (Maynard, Mass.) added 17 points and four steals off the bench.
Senior Leonny Burgos (Lawrence, Mass.) scored 15 points, registered five assists and two steals for the Falcons. Sophomore Nicholas Tracy (Indianapolis, Ind.) tallied 10 points on 5-for-9 shooting with eight assists in the victory.
In a game that went back and forth, five early points from senior DiBernardo sparked an early 9-2 lead for the visiting Lancers. The Falcons would pull ahead 14-13 on a Jalen Williams (Meriden, Conn.) putback at the 12:45 mark. Notched at 18-18, the Green and Gold outscored the Lancers 13-8, highlighted by a pair of dunks from junior Joshua Bosworth (Springfield, Mass.) to open up their largest lead of the stanza (31-26).
Worcester State responded with a 10-2 run highlighted by seven points from senior guard Aaron Anniballi (Milford, Mass.) to hold a 36-33 advantage with just over a minute remaining. However, the hosts answered with a three-pointer from Burgos and a jumper from Williams to carry a 38-36 lead into the locker room.
The Falcons opened up the second frame with baskets from Burgos and Bell to extend the lead to 43-36. Worcester State countered with an 8-0 run, capped by a Jeremy Bacon (Milford, Mass.) free-throw to regain the lead 44-43. Minutes later, a pair of trifectas put the Falcons ahead 51-49 with 13:41 to play.
Trailing 55-54 at the 10:26 mark the Falcons went on a 7-0 run highlighted by five points from Bell and a pair from the charity stripe from Lance Hill (Springfield, Mass.) to push the score to 61-54 with 9:14 remaining. A basket from Brooks stopped the Falcon run, however, the home team responded with a 6-2 streak to pull ahead 67-59 with 6:17 to play.
After a Lancers timeout, the Falcons responded with stingy defense, causing three straight turnovers, while adding twelve straight points in the offensive end to open up the first double-digit lead of the game (79-59) with under three minutes to play.
Worcester State chipped away at the lead (80-66) on buckets by DiBernardo and Howes, before the Falcons secured the win on a jumper from junior Jeremiah Ephraim (Boston, Mass.), resulting in the 84-70 final.
For the contest, Fitchburg State shot 32-of-66 (48.5%) overall and (7-for-16) 43.8% from beyond the arc. Worcester State finished 26-of-72 (36.1%) from the field and (9-for-27) 33.3% from downtown. The Green and Gold also controlled the glass, holding a 48-38 edge, including a 32-20 margin on the defensive end.
Fitchburg State (12-10, 7-2 MASCAC) returns to action on Saturday as it travels to MCLA to take on the Trailblazers at 1 p.m. Worcester State (6-16, 4-5 MASCAC) will host the Bears of Bridgewater State on Saturday for a contest starting at 1 p.m.
Release Courtesy of Fitchburg State Sports Information