WESTFIELD, Mass. — The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts men's basketball team went on the road to challenge Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Westfield State and came back with a statement victory. The Trailblazers held the Owls, the preseason MASCAC favorites, to just 21 percent shooting as they blitzed Westfield and defeated them 64-43 Tuesday night.
With the win, MCLA remains perfect in league play at 3-0 while improving to 6-9 overall. The Owls drop to 2-2 in MASCAC play and 12-4 overall.
After starting the season at 3-6, MCLA has ripped off three straight conference wins including consecutive road tilts at Worcester and Westfield. The win over the Owls also avenged a pair of narrow losses from a year ago.
MCLA took command early in the opening half as Westfield struggled from the floor. Trailblazer forward Ramon Viches canned consecutive 3-pointers to fuel a 12-2 MCLA run, pushing the Trailblazers out to a 22-8 lead. Westfield never got within 10 points from there and trailed at the half 29-17.
In the second period, MCLA quickly erased any Westfield thoughts of a comeback. The Trailblazers used a 13-3 spurt to open the half jumping out to an insurmountable 42-20 lead with 13:23 to play. The MCLA lead grew to as many as 25 before settling on the final score. The Owls never got closer than 18 points in the second half.
The Trailblazers were led by Viches' 13 points. He was 5-8 from the floor, including 3-6 from downtown. John Jones overcame early foul trouble to finish with 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Trailblazers will next play on Thursday night when they host Framingham State at 7:30.