#4 Fitchburg State Stuns #1 Seed Salem State in Overtime

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SALEM, MASS. – Jonathan Perez (Lowell, Mass.) scored 20 points, including 15 in the second half, as #4 Fitchburg State stunned top seed Salem State in overtime, 90-81 in the semifinals of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Tournament on Thursday evening at Twohig Gymnasium. The Falcons (13-14) advance to play #2 Bridgewater State on Saturday for the MASCAC Championship.  The Vikings (22-4), who had their 15-game winning streak snapped, are currently ranked #20 in the D3hoops.com latest poll, and will now await a possible at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Fitchburg State led by five at halftime before Salem State began to assert itself in the second half. Despite shooting just 13-34 (38.2%) in the first half, the Vikings' offense found its rhythm, and after scoring on back-to-back possessions, tied the game at 40-40 after a layup by Tyreik McCauley (Worcester, Mass.). Both teams began to heat up from the floor, and back-to-back three-pointers by Sean Bryan (Lowell, Mass.) and Shaquan Murray (Boston, Mass.) put the Vikings up by five, 51-46 with 12:43 remaining. However, Perez answered with consecutive three's, to spur a 9-2 run by Fitchburg State that ended with the Falcons leading by 12, 65-53 at the 7:44 mark.
The Vikings, who shot 58.6% (17-29) from the field in the second, battled back behind Drew Healy (Lowell, Mass.), who scored six straight points. Following a dunk after a nice feed from Bryan, by Healy, Salem State crept to within four of the lead. The Vikings then trimmed the deficit to one point before Tyrell St. John (Stamford, Conn.), who had 17 points, added a layup that put the Falcons up by three points heading into the final minute.  

Bryan, who last year hit a three at the buzzer to send Salem State to the title game, once again came through, hitting a game-tying three with 21 seconds left to force overtime.
Healy, who finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, put the Vikings up by one, 77-76 after a basket and an-one early in overtime as Nicholas Tracy (Indianapolis, Ind.) – 11 points on the night committed his fifth foul on the play.

Joshua Bosworth (Springfield, Mass.) quickly regained the lead for the Falcons with a layup, and after a trey by DaCosta, Fitchburg State began to pull away. DaCosta responded with another layup after a Jacob Lindland (Hamilton, Mass.) basket brought Salem State to within three. The
Falcons outscored Salem State 16-7 in the extra period and put the game away from the free throw line as the Vikings were forced to foul after shooting just 3-10 (30.0%) from the field in overtime. A dunk by Perez at the buzzer punctuated the 90-81 win.    

DaCosta had 11 rebounds- seven offensive - ,10 points and three blocks for Fitchburg State while Brandon Harris (San Bernardino, Calif.) contributed with 17 points on 5-10 (50%) shooting. Bosworth had 11 points and eight boards as the Falcons had six players in double figures.

Murray chipped in with 15 points for Salem State while Bryan added 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. Rayshaw Matthews (Boston, Mass.) had a game-high six assists and three steals.

The Vikings connected on just 5-25 (20.0%) three-pointers.
The first half saw Fitchburg State attack the paint while keeping Salem State's potent three-point game from materializing. The Falcons methodically built a nine-point advantage over the first ten minutes of the game. Tracy, who had eight first half points, put Fitchburg State up by five points at the 12:49 mark. A steal by Charles Doss (Fitchburg, Mass.) led to a Jonathan Perez (Lowell, Mass.) bucket and a 19-10 lead. The Vikings, who led the league with 197 three-point makes this season, struggled from behind the arc, shooting just 1-12 (8.3%) for the half.   

Unable to get going outside, Drew Healy (Lowell, Mass.) kept the Vikings in the game, going 6-for-6 from the field, while grabbing seven rebounds which led to 13 second chance points for the Vikings. A lay-in and tip-in by Healy helped Salem State cut into the deficit and suddenly the Vikings trailed by just three with 3:56 remaining.  A steal in the backcourt by Lindland led to a three-pointer by the senior that drew the Vikings to within a point at 27-26.

However, Fitchburg State answered the charge as a jumper by Tracy and a shot from behind the arc by St. John pushed the lead back to five. Salem State moved to within a basket in the final minute, but a shot by Perez at the buzzer gave the Falcons a 34-29 lead heading into halftime.