SALEM, Mass. – Hakeem Animashaun (Dedham, Mass.) scored a career-high 32 points and Sean Bryan (Lowell, Mass.) poured in 31 as Salem State opened Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play with a 100-82 victory over Worcester State on Saturday afternoon at Twohig Gymnasium. Animashaun scored 19 second half points, while going 13-15 (86.6%) overall from the field with 12 rebounds and three blocks.
The two teams played a closely contested first half that saw the Vikings (7-7, 1-0) take a one-point, 41-40 lead into halftime. Salem State opened up an 8-2 lead with Bryan and Bryan Martninez (Salem, Mass.) combining for all eight points. Back-to-back three-pointers by Tyler Dion (Barre, Mass.) gave Worcester State (7-7, 0-1) its first lead at 13-10 at the 14:59 mark. The Lancers lead grew to eight, 32-24 after an Erik Bjorn (Holden, Mass.) layup, but a 15-6 run sparked by the inside play of Animashaun gave the Vikings a 39-38 lead with 2:52 remaining. Bryan and Animashaun each had 13 first half points for the Vikings while Bjorn led all scorers with 14. The Lancers shot 54.5% (18-33) from the field while recording 11 first-half assists. The Vikings were 17-41 (41.5%) from the floor, but just 3-11 (27.3%) from three-point range.
Salem State surged ahead to an eight point lead early in the second half on a 9-0 spurt with five of the points coming inside from Animashaun. Trailing by 10, the Lancers, quickly got back into the game scoring seven straight points and following two free throws by Cal Howes (Maynard, Mass.) were behind by just three, 62-59 with 10:18 left.
The Vikings, however answered as Bryan and Animashaun combined for 11-straight points while Salem State's defense held Worcester State scoreless for nearly three and a half minutes. The lead grew to as high as 19 points as the Vikings closed out the 100-82 victory with 26 points from their reserves, highlighted by 12 points form Chris MacDonald (Wakefield, Mass.).
Salem State scored 59 second half points, going 18-29 (62.1%) from the field while limiting the Lancers to just 34.2% (13-38) shooting after halftime.
Bryan finished with eight rebounds and three assists and Martinez ended with seven points on 3-3 shooting before leaving late in the first half with an injury.
Bjorn and Dion led Worcester State with 18 points apiece. Bjorn was 9-11 (81.8%) from the floor with nine rebounds. Howes had 13 points and Chris Cardoso (Jamaica Plain, Mass.) 10 points for the Lancers.