NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Trailblazers rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit and then held off the Bridgewater State Bears, earning a hard fought 67-64 win. The game marked the regular-season finale for both teams heading into the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
The Trailblazers (13-12, 9-3) will be the second seed and earn a first-round bye in the tournament. BSU (11-13, 5-7) will be the fourth seed.
After the Bears held a slim four-point lead at the break, MCLA promptly tied the game at 29 out of the locker room. The Bears then went on a 12-0 run to snag their largest lead of the night at 41-29. Shawn Yard and Michael Lofton each spurred the run with five points each. MCLA battled back though.
With the Bears up 43-34, MCLA then went on a game-changing 17-4 spurt to grab a 51-47 lead with 8:08 remaining. Kenny Suggs and Paul Maurice collected 11 points in the run to give MCLA their first
lead since early in the opening half. Bridgewater stayed close though, eventually pulling to within a point with under two minutes to play.
Four straight points from Bilal Shabazz put MCLA up 65-60 with just 30 seconds left in the game. A Lofton tip-in pulled the Bears within two, but Shabazz once again drained a pair of free throws to stretch back out to a five-point cushion.
For MCLA, Shabazz finished with a team-high 17 points. Maurice chipped in with 15 points, 12 of which came in the second half.
Prior to the contest, MCLA honored seniors Richard Johnson, Shabazz and Vernon Cross, who played their final home game.