WORCESTER, Mass. - The Worcester State University men's basketball team fell in a nail-biter to conference rival Bridgewater State by a score of 89-88 in overtime Wednesday night at John P. Brissette Court.
With the loss, the Lancers fell to 11-13 on the season, and 4-7 in MASCAC play. Bridgewater State would improve to 8-16 overall, and 6-5 in MASCAC competition.
Before the game, the Worcester State Athletic Department honored senior Michel Toney (Boston, Mass.) in his final regular season game at John P. Brissette Court.
The Lancers got their offense started with a layup from Erik Bjorn (Holden, Mass.) and a 3-pointer from junior Tyler Dion (Barre, Mass.). The Bears would answer right back with a layup from junior forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, N.C.) and a 3-pointer from forward Dmitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.). The Bears offense would really pick up as they would go on an 11-0 run and jump out to a 28-13 lead with 8:02 left in the half. The Lancers answered back with a 9-2 run of their own to cut the deficit to 30-22.
In true Senior Night fashion, Toney would sub in with 5:52 to play in the half, giving the Lancers a much-needed spark on both ends of the floor, stealing the ball from the opposition, making a pair of layups, and getting to the free throw line. However, the Bears continue to shoot lights out, including 52.9 percent from the field and 72.7 percent from three in the half. St. Louis and Ward led the way for the Bears with 15 and 12 points respectively with a combined 7-8 from 3-point range. For the Lancers, Dion led with 13 and Toney tallied eight as Bridgewater led 46-33 going into the locker room.
The Lancers would open the second half on mission, going on a 17-4 run to tie the game at 50 a piece, lead by Dion, Bjorn, and junior guard Cal Howes (Maynard, Mass.). The Lancers would take their first lead since the opening minutes on a Chris Cardoso (Jamaica Plain, Mass.) layup to make it 57-55 at the 11:59 mark. From then on, both teams would battle, trading baskets back and forth. With two minutes to play, the Bears would take a 76-74 lead on a steal and fastbreak dunk from Ward. The Lancers would answer again with two made free throws from Bjorn to tie it. The game would head to overtime after a miss from Cardoso at the buzzer.
In the extra session, Bridgewater would get a quick five points on a 3-pointer by Ward and layup by junior guard Ryan Carney (Easton, Mass.) to open the scoring. For the Lancers Dion would answer back with a 3-pointer of his own to make it 81-79. Two more 3-pointers from Dion and another from Frantz Francois (Boston, Mass.) had the Lancers only down three with 1:07 left to play. Another clutch 3-pointer from Dion would even the score at 88 with ten seconds on the clock, but Bridgewater's Carney would make 1 of 2 from the line after a foul by Cardoso with four seconds left. The Lancers were able to get one last shot off at the buzzer but rimmed out as the Bears held on for the win.
Three Lancers scored in double figures, with Dion serving as the game's leading scorer with 33 points. Bjorn and Francois both recorded double-doubles, as Bjorn finished with 18 points and 12 boards, and Francois with 11 points and 12 boards. For Bridgewater, five players scored in double figures, with Ward pacing the Bears with 26 points and 16 rebounds. St. Louis added 22, with Carney, sophomore center Nick Crocker (East Falmouth, Mass.), and freshman guard Admar Jaramillo (Brockton, Mass.) adding 10 each.
The Lancers conclude the regular season at Westfield State this Saturday, with a tip-off scheduled for 12 p.m.