Trailblazers Rally Falls Short, Takes First MASCAC Loss
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Trailblazers fell behind Bridgewater State University by 22 points late in the second before posting a furious rally. The visitors got to within five, but couldn't get over the hump as they fell to Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Bridgewater State, 89-80, Wednesday evening.
The Trailblazers saw their five-game winning streak snapped as they fall to 8-10 overall and 5-1 in conference play. The Bears improve to 3-3 in the MASCAC, 8-9 overall.
After a back-and-forth first half in which the Bears scored the final eight points to tie the score at 38, the hosts took control in the second half. With the score tied at 51 all, Bridgewater went on 12-2 run to take a 63-53 lead on a Michael Lofton jumper in the lane.
MCLA responded with back-to-back baskets to cut the margin to six before the Bears went on another powerful run, this one a 16-0 run that gave the hosts what appeared to be an insurmountable 79-57 lead with just 4:42 remaining.
The Trailblazers employed full-court pressure and quickly went on an 11-0 run in the next minute to climb back in the game. Paul Maurice drained back-to-back 3-pointers, the last of which resulted in a four-point play to close MCLA to 79-68 with 3:39 left.
After Bridgewater stretched back out to a 13 point lead at 81-68, MCLA again used their pressure to create turnovers and as a result they outscored Bridgewater 10-3 to get within six at 84-78 with just 1:48 on the clock. Bridgewater got free throws from Justin Clark and Brendan Monteiro sandwiched around a defensive stop to go up eight points, before Lee Turner's lay in got MCLA back within six with just 47 ticks left.
Bridgewater finally kept the ball away from MCLA forcing them to foul. Shawn Yard connected on a pair of free throws to essentially put the game out of reach and in the process hand MCLA their first MASCAC loss of the season.
MCLA was paced by Maurice's team-high 19 points, including four shots from beyond the arc before fouling out. He added four steals. John Jones chipped in with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while adding six assists.
MCLA was ultimately doomed by 27 turnovers which led to 37 Bridgewater points.
The Trailblazers resume MASCAC play on Tuesday night when they travel to Salem State for a 7:30 tip-off.