Lasers Stun JWU in GNAC Opener, 86-58

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NEWTON, Mass. (11/29/16) -- The Lasell College men's basketball team built a nine-point halftime lead and then coasted in the second half of Tuesday night's Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) opener in the Athletic Center, earning an 86-58 win over Johnson & Wales University.

Lasell earned its second consecutive home win to improve to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play, while JWU remains winless at 0-3. The game was also JWU's GNAC opener.

Senior Armin Omanovic (Wilkesboro, N.C.) scored 31 points to pace Lasell's offense for a fourth straight game, while classmate John Powell (Ashland, Mass.) recorded his third double-double of the season, posting 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Senior Yordan Villalon (Miami, Fla.) and junior Scott Arsenault (Walpole, Mass.) also hit double figures for the Lasers with 11 and ten points, respectively, while sophomore Tim Blair (Newington, Conn.) contributed ten points off the bench. Arsenault and Omanovic led the way from three-point range, hitting three triples apiece.

Junior Michael Kiser (Pike Road, Ala.) led the Wildcats with 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting, while classmate Jarell Lawson (Providence, R.I.) posted 13, including three, three-pointers.

JWU senior Anthony Jernigan (East Hartford, Conn.) answered Villalon's opening three-pointer with one of his own in the opening two minutes of the game. Omanovic then made two layups and a free throw to lift Lasell to an 8-3 lead, and it never looked back.

Lasell led 20-11 with 8:47 left in the opening period, but the visitors scored ten of the next 14 points to move within three. Lawson cut the Lasers' lead to 28-27 in the final six minutes of the half, but Blair and Arsenault each hit threes to help extend the score in the waning stages.

The Lasers shot 41.2 percent in the first half, but improved upon that mark with a 52 percent showing while outscoring JWU 45-26 in the second. Omanovic scored 21 of his points in the second half, shooting 5-of-10 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.

The teams traded baskets to open the back half of the contest before Lasell went on a hot shooting run. Arsenault and Omanovic gave Lasell a 55-38 lead by the five-minute mark, hitting consecutive three-pointers in a 30-second span.

Lasell scored nine straight points later in the half and held an 81-55 lead with four minutes to play. Kiser's layup broke the run, but the Lasers allowed just three points for the remainder of the contest and took an 85-55 lead, its largest of the night, after Blair hit his second jumper of the half and Omanovic scored a pair of free throws with 2:18 to play.

Lasell finished the game shooting 45.8 percent from the field, while holding JWU to just 32.4. The Lasers held a 50-36 rebounding advantage, scored 25 second-chance points and 32 points in the paint.

The Lasers return to the Athletic Center on Thursday, December 1 at 8:00 p.m. for a non-conference contest with the Lancers of Worcester State University. The Wildcats will play a GNAC game at Rivier that same night at 7:00 p.m.