Westfield State drops heartbreaker at buzzer

Westfield State’s Vawn Lord goes to the hoop against MCLA. (WESTFIELD STATE UNIVERSITY SPORTS)

NORTH ADAMS – Quentin Gittens jump shot at the buzzer in overtime lifted Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to an 82-81 win over Westfield State in a hard fought battle atop the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference at the Amsler Campus Center Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
MCLA improves to 13-5 and remains unbeaten atop the MASCAC at 6-0. The Owls dip to 12-7 overall and 4-2 in the league.
Inbounding the ball with just over five seconds, left, Ki Shawn Monroe pushed the ball up the court and found Gittens for the jumper from the left wing settled through the net as time expired to seal the win in the back and forth battle.
Westfield had taken an 81-80 lead seconds earlier when Brendon Hamilton followed up with a putback of Malik Pouncy’s drive.
The game featured ten lead changes and seven ties.
Tied at 17 midway through the first half, the Owls used a 9-0 run in a three-and-a-half minute span to build a 26-17 lead with 7:37 left in the period.
MCLA answered, putting an exclamation point on the first half with a buzzer beating three-pointer from Hayden Bird on a feed from Ki Shawn Monroe, giving the Trailblazers a 34-33 lead at the break. Chris Becker led the Blazers with 11 in the first half, while Vawn Lord netted 11 for the Owls in the opening frame.
Monroe’s four-point play with 8:20 left in regulation gave MCLA a 10-point lead for the first time 64-54.
Westfield battled its way back into the game with pressure defense.
Owls tied the game 66-all on an emphatic baseline slam from Hamilton with 4:06 left off good ball movement that ended with a feed from Marcus Collins.
The Owls regained the lead a couple possessions later with an old fashioned three-point play from Hamilton, then Yeardsley drilled a three-pointed to put the Trailblazers up 71-69 with three minutes left.
A Pouncy three with 2:20 left in regulation tied the game at 72-all.
Tied at 72-all, Westfield forced a 30-second shot clock violation to get the ball back with 9.3 seconds left in the second half, but Green’s last second attempt was partially blocked and time ran out in regulation.
Owls grabbed a three-point lead on Green three-pointer off the tip in OT.
Chris Becker led all scorers with 19 points. He grabbed 6 boards and added 3 assists. Noah Yearsley ended with 18 points on 5-12 shooting from three point range. Monroe just missed a triple double with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 10 assists. Gittens ended with 10 points and 6 rebounds.
Westfield was paced by Hamilton’s 19 points and 14 rebounds. Green tallied 18 points and 15 rebounds. Lord scored 15 points, but did most of his damage in the opening half of play.
Each team shot 37% while the Owls held a slim 55-49 rebounding advantage. – Courtesy of Westfield State University Sports

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