Westfield State Downs Worcester State, 78-69
Worcester, MA --- Sophomore Lee Vazquez (Attleboro, MA) tallied totals of 25 points and 11 rebounds to help lead Westfield State to a 78-69 triumph over Worcester State this evening in MASCAC men's basketball action.
With the win the Owls improve to 10-14 overall and 6-5 in league play while the Lancers slip to 6-18 and 4-7 in the conference standings. Tonight's contest was a make-up game that was rescheduled from February 1.
Senior Jesse Benoit (Granby, MA) also paced the effort for the visitors with 16 points and nine boards while second-year Matt Devine (Pembroke, MA) added 11 points and six boards. Fourth-year Chris Jurkowski (Belchertown, MA) and junior Marcellus Lee (Quincy, MA) both chipped in with eight points apiece.
Worcester State was propelled by senior Dave Douillette (Bridgewater, MA) who notched his sixth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 caroms to go along with three steals and a trio of assists.
Junior Frank Stephenson (Fall River, MA) finished with 15 points as freshman Emmanuel Ferraud (Worcester, MA/South) came off the bench to net 10 points. Senior Ryan Testagrossa (Athol, MA) dished out four helpers while first-year Mike Gittens (Uncasville, CT) tacked on totals of nine points and nine rebounds which included six of their 11 offensive boards.
The Owls out rebounded the hosts, 45-34, as they also held leads in points inside the key (40-28), points off turnovers (18-11) and second-chance points (16-6). Westfield State shot 51 percent from the floor for the game (27-for-53) as the Lancers connected for 41 percent of their shots (24-for-58).
With the game knotted 8-8 early on, Westfield State used a 12-2 run to open up a 20-10 advantage at the 12:53 mark. The Blue and Gold would trim the lead to seven points with 8:45 remaining in the period (25-18), but the Owls would go back into double-digits with seven consecutive points over the next 90 seconds capped off by a first-year Andrew Morgan (Somerset, NJ) trey.
The visitors would balloon their lead to as many as 18 points with 2:21 left (40-22) before setting for the 44-32 edge at the intermission.
In the opening frame the Lancers struggled from the free throw line as they only made five of their 18 attempts from the charity stripe (28 percent).
Things looked bleak for Worcester State in the second half as the Owls would outscore their counterparts 20-12 over the first 10 minutes of the second stanza for a commanding 66-44 advantage – their largest lead to that point.
But the Blue and Gold refused to go away as they chipped away at the lead as they made a run at Westfield State in the last five minutes of the contest.
As the Owls held the 71-54 edge with 4:34 remaining in regulation, Worcester State utilized a 10-1 spurt as they did most of their damage from the free throw line as they hit four of five from the stripe. Douillette stroked a three-pointer at the top of the arc to finish off the rally as the Lancers threatened with 1:23 on the clock (72-64).
Gittens hit a lay-up to stretch the lead to seven points with 56 ticks remaining, but that was as close as Worcester State would get as Westfield State closed the door by scoring five of the contests final eight points to seal the win.
The Blue and Gold improved to shoot 10-for-16 from the free throw line in the second period (63 percent) as they were 15-for-34 for the game (44 percent). Worcester State had 12 assists for 24 made shots from the field.
The Owls themselves struggled from the stripe as they ended shooting 61 percent (19-for-31). Westfield State used 10 steals to create 16 Lancer miscues.
Douillette, Testagrossa and Quinlivan were all honored for their four-year contributions to Worcester State on "Senior Night" in a brief pre-game ceremony.
Both squads will end their regular season on Saturday as they look ahead to next week's MASCAC Tournament. Worcester State will travel to Salem State for a six o'clock contest while the Owls will entertain Fitchburg State at 3 PM.