Vikings Late Surge Holds Off Bears

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SALEM, MASS. --  Shaquan Murray (Boston, Mass.) poured in 16 points and added seven rebounds and Alex Santos (Lawrence, Mass.) converted two free throws with six seconds left that gave Salem State a four-point lead as the Vikings held on for an 85-79 win over Bridgewater State in MASCAC action on Wednesday evening. The Vikings have now won seven games in a row and improve to 14-3 on the season and remain unbeaten in conference (4-0). The Bears slide to 9-7 and are 2-1 in league play.    

The Vikings overcame a 19-point effort from Rocky DeAndrade (Mansfield, Mass.), who scored 14 in the second half to lead five players in double-digits for Bridgewater State.  

The first half was tightly contested as Salem State managed to take a four-point lead into the half. Bridgewater State pulled ahead 13-10 following a three-pointer by Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.). The teams traded baskets before consecutive trey's by Tyreik McCauley (Worcester, Mass.) and Jacob Lindland (Hamilton, Mass.) gave Salem State a 26-21 lead midway through the half. Thirty first half fouls caused both squads to go to their bench as the two teams combined for 36 free throws before the break. With the score tied 29-all, Salem State went on a 9-1 run, scoring eight of the points from the free throw line. The Bears battled back as five straight points by Ryan Carney (Easton, Mass.) brought Bridgewater State to within two at 39-37 with 2:43 left. Lindland, who had nine first half points, answered for the Vikings with two three-pointers over the final two minutes, as Salem State went up by seven before Nick Crocker (East Falmouth, Mass.) connected from behind the arc to pull the Bears to within four, 48-44 at the half.

McCauley had nine points at the break while Rayshaw Matthews (Boston, Mass.) added eight. Carney had 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting for the Bears, while Rayshon Ward (Plymouth, Mass.) had eight points and five rebounds for the Bears, who shot 43.8% (14-32) in the first half.

The Vikings built a seven-point, second half advantage, but DeAndrade quickly cut the lead to one with back-to-back three's that brought the deficit to 66-65 with 10:08 remaining. DeAndrade, who went 5-for-7 from behind the arc, gave the Bears the lead 70-68 with his fourth trey of the half.   

Leading 77-74 after another three by St. Louis, the Bears stumbled over the final 4:44, as they converted just once down the stretch as the team turned the ball over seven times while being unable to set up offensively against the Vikings' relentless defense. Murray, who went 6-of-8 from the floor in the second half, took over late, converting eight straight points for the Vikings. Murray's layup with 3:19 left put Salem State back on top for good 78-77 as Bridgewater State failed to answer a 6-0 Vikings' run. A layup by DeAndrade made the score 80-79 with :48 seconds left, but a free throw by Matthews and turnover by the Bears allowed Santos to ice the game with two free throws as the Vikings held on for the 85-79 victory.

McCauley had 15 points for Salem State while Drew Healy (Lowell, Mass.) contributed with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Matthews added 11 points for Salem State, which shot 28-71 (39.4% for the game and forced 20 Bridgewater State turnovers.

Carney had 17 points for the Bears who also received strong efforts from Carty – 11 points, 13 rebounds and St. Loius -13 points. Ward ended the game with 12 points and five assists for Bridegwater State, which shot 29-36 (46.0%) from the floor and 13-18 (72.2%) from the free throw line, all of which came in the first half.