WESTFIELD, Mass. – Senior guard Aaron Anniballi (Milford, Mass.) scored 18 points, including a key late three-pointer to help lift No. 5 seed Worcester State to a mild first-round upset over No. 4 Westfield State in the opening round of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) tournament at the Woodward Center on Tuesday night.
With the win, Worcester will advance to play at No. 1 seed Fitchburg State on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
Westfield the game tied at 56-all with a Jesus Sanchez (Springfield, Mass.) layup off of an inbounds play under their own basket with 4:48 to play. Worcester answered with an Anniballi drive to make it 58-56, then two trips later Anniballi banked in a three-pointer late in the shot clock with 2:56 to play to give the Lancers.
Worcester led 63-58 when Ryan DiBernardo (Springfield, Mass.) missed a three-pointer from the corner with 40 seconds to play, but Lancers senior center Paul Brooks (Arlington, Mass.) grabbed the offensive rebound, his 17th carom of the game to control possession. Worcester hit its free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.
The Lancers outrebounded the Owls 48-29, and made 17-of-19 free throws while the Owls were just 5-11 from the sin stripe.
Worcester finished with five players in double figures in scoring, as guard Cory Gatta (Sturbridge, Mass.) added 15, Cal Howes (Maynard, Mass.) 12, and Brooks scored 11 points and blocked five shots to go with his 17 rebounds. DiBernardo netted 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds. The Lancers improve to 9-17 with the win.
Westfield was led by 18 points and five assists for sophomore point guard Peter Mafo (Lynn, Mass.). Mafo drained 4-of-5 three pointers on the evening. Senior Jose Allen (Amherst, Mass.) added 10 points, senior center Shane Pasquantonio (Ashland, Mass.) added 10 points and eight rebounds, and Sanchez finished with nine points and four assists.
Westfield finishes its season at 10-15.
In the first half, Worcester led by as many as 11 points, last at 30-19 on a Jeremy Bacon (Milford, Mass.) layup. Westfield responded with a 12-0 run, including eight straight from Mafo on a drive and back to back three pointers that gave Westfield a 31-30 lead. Howes hit a three-pointer with three seconds left in the opening half that gave Worcester a 35-33 lead at the intermission.
The two teams were playing for the second time in four days. The Owls beat the Lancers 80-60 on Saturday in the final regular season game for both teams.
Release Courtesy of Westfield State Sports Information