Fitchburg, Mass. -- Hakeem Animashaun (Dedham, Mass.) posted a game-high 33 points and 16 rebounds and Sean Bryan (Lowell, Mass.) chipped in with 22 points and 11 boards, but Salem State lost to Fitchburg State 102-96 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) action this evening at Parkinson Gymnasium. The Vikings now stand at 7-8 on the year and 1-1 in conference while the Falcons go to 5-9 and 1-1 in the league.
The teams traded the lead to open the first minutes of the game, Fitchburg State held a 10-6 advantage after sophomore Charles Doss (Fitchburg, Mass.) cashed in a 3-point jump shot from the corner. Salem State regained the lead 15-14 with an Evan Mason(Gloucester, Mass.) trey with 14:27 to play.
Next, the Falcons took the lead (16-15) and control of the first half after Doss made a pair from the charity stripe. Newcomer Devan Harris (Danvers, Mass.) drained a 3-pointer the hosts held an eight point advantage (27-19) midway through the stanza.
Salem connected on a pair of layups from junior Hakeem Animashaun (Dedham, Mass.) and freshman Melvin Worley (Lowell, Mass.) to cut the deficit to 29-26, however the green and gold followed with a 14-6 run to hold a ten point advantage (43-33).
Senior Jonathan Perez (Lowell, Mass.) notched five straight points for the Falcons to give the hosts a 58-46 lead heading into halftime.
After the break the Falcons built their biggest lead of the game (68-51) posting a 7-0 run on baskets from junior Tyrell St. John (Stamford, Conn), Doss and a trey from junior Andre Ruff (Chicago, Ill.) .
While the Falcons maintained mostly a 10 point advantage throughout the second half the Vikings wouldn't back down. With two minutes to play Bryan sank a three-pointer to make the score 94-87. Trailing by six (96-90) Bryant connected on a four point play to make it a two-point game (96-94) with 1:12 to play.
Fitchburg State was paced by Perez with a team-leading 20 points and eight boards, while McKenzie added 19 points and ten rebounds off the bench. Doss had a team-best 12 rebounds along with 9 points.
Fitchburg State shot 35-for-84 (41,7%) from the field and (12-of-30) 40% from beyond the arc. Salem State went 32-for-70 (45.7%) overall and (10-of-22) 45.5% from three point range.