WSU outlasts Salem, 70-65

Westfield State’s Jordan Santiago makes an outstanding defensive play as he maintains his balance and keeps the ball in play to record one of his game-high six steals. (Photo by Mickey Curtis)

WESTFIELD – Senior center Matt Devine had game highs of 23 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots to lead Westfield State University to a hard-earned 70-65 victory over Salem State University on Saturday afternoon.
The Owls moved into second place in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference with a 5-2 record; they are 15-4 overall. Salem is 4-3 and 12-7.
The first half was a game of huge scoring runs as the Owls bolted to a 23-point, 32-9 lead over sluggish Salem.
Salem then outscored Westfield, 16-2, in the final 4:42 of the first half to trail 34-25 at the intermission. Tavone Wynder sparked the Salem comeback with two 3-point baskets.
Westfield led by as many as 15 points, 54-39, with 10:25 remaining when the scrappy Salem squad mounted another comeback. Trailing 68-57 with 3:01 remaining, Salem scored eight straight points, including two Wynder jumpers, to close within three, 68-65, with 1:26 remaining.
This set the stage for the frantic final minute. Westfield’s Grant Cooper missed the front end of a one-and-one with 46 seconds remaining. Salem then missed two 3-points attempts and Devine grabbed the rebound after the second miss and was fouled.
Devine also missed the front end of a one-and-one and Salem againe grabbed the rebound. But Westfield sophomore guard Jordan Santiago executed the play of the game as he stole the ball at the top of the key on Salem’s offensive end with eight seconds remaining.
Lee Vazquez was quickly fouled and drained both free throws on a third consecutive one-and-one situation to secure the big victory.
Vazquez, who exploded for 38 points in Westfield’s 82-55 victory at Fitchburg State on Tuesday, finished with 17 points and a game-high six assists.
Devine also stuffed the stat sheet with four assists, a steal, and a 10 for 13 shooting effort from the field. The 6-7 center from Pembroke, who led the nation in blocked shots last year, had five of his seven rejections in the first half.
Despite being saddled with foul trouble, Cooper played a solid game for the Owls with 15 points and four assists in 25 minutes of action. Santiago scored eight points and had a game-high six steals.
Justin Nieves led the Vikings with 19 points followed by Wynder and Bryan Ortiz with 15 and 12, respectively.
In a key stat, Westfield shot 54 percent from the field (31-57) despite making only 1 of 13 attempts from 3-point range. Salem shot 38 percent (23-60) and was 3 for 15 from beyond the arc.
The Vikings kept the game close by canning 16 of 22 free throws.
WESTFIELD STATE WOMEN ROLL: Freshman guard Keri Doldoorian scored a game-high 22 points and senior guard Jenny Bell had 14 points and six steals to lead Westfield State University to an 81-51 victory over Salem State University on Saturday afternoon.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Owls, who improved to 5-2 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference and 13-7 overall. Salem is 1-6 and 8-12.
It was the second consecutive game that Doldoorian led the Owls to a 30-point victory. The 5-6 point guard from Whitinsville (Sutton HS) scored a previous season best 19 points in Westfield’s 82-52 victory at Fitchburg State on Tuesday.
Doldoorian had 11 of her points in the first half when the Owls raced to a 49-20 lead while shooting a sizzling 57 percent from the field. Doldoorian finished 8 for 11 in field goal shooting, including a torrid 6 for 7 from 3-point range.
Bell notched a trip-six as she was 6 for 6 from the floor in addition to her six steals.
For the game, Westfield shot an even 50 percent from the field (33-66) and 50 percent fro 3-point range (8-16). Sophomore guard Jen Ashton contributed 13 points and a game-high nine assists. Junior reserve forward Tania Ortiz had another solid stat line (10 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 1 steals) in 21 minutes of action.
The Owls had five players score in double figures as senior reserve guard Briana Kelly celebrated her 22nd birthday in style by scoring 10 points.
The Westfield State University women’s swimming and diving team defeated the University of Saint Joseph, Conn., 114-91, in the Owls’ final home meet on Saturday.
Westfield improves it record to 4-3 and concludes its dual meet regular season on Sunday, Jan. 27, at Western Connecticut State University.
Official winners for the Owls were: senior Katie Cox of South Hadley in the 200 freestyle, sophomore Amanda Labriola in the 100 backstroke, junior Kirsten LaMotte in the 100 breaststroke, senior Nikki Brunyak in the 500 freestyle, and the 200 medley relay squad of Labriola, LaMotte, Katie Inoue and Cox.
WSU TRACKS DOWN FOURTH: The Westfield State University men’s indoor track and field team finished fourth in the highly competitive 11-team Springfield College Invitational on Saturday.
St. Lawrence (N.Y.) University took top team honors with 125 points, followed by Amherst College (76), RPI (72) and Westfield (64).
The Owls had two individual winners. Senior Brendan Corcoran crossed the finish line first in the 600 meter run (1:24.34) and Tom Gauger won the pole vault by clearing 14 feet, 11 inches.
Placing second was senior Anthony Frissora in the 800 meter run (1:58.30).
Frissora and Corcoran also were members of the 4 x 400 relay team that placed second with a 3:28.90 clocking. Other team members were Matt Moussamih and Carmelo Solivan.
Senior stalwart Justin Ehrhard placed third in both the shot put (45-1/4) and the 35-pound weight throw (48-1 ¾). Also finishing third was freshman Zack Delisle in the pole vault (13-1 ½).
Freshman John Latour placed sixth in the triple jump (40-11 ¾) and seventh in the long jump (19-11 ½). Senior John Murphy was sixth in the 60 meter dash (7.37) and eighth in the 200 (23.82).
The Westfield State University women’s indoor track and field team placed fourth out of 12 teams in the highly competitive Springfield College Invitational on Saturday.
St. Lawrence (N.Y.) University finished first with 113 points followed by Springfield (82), Amherst (68.5) and Westfield (52).
The Owls had two individual winners. Freshman Naloti Palma shattered the school record and set a Springfield College field house record with a throw of 42-4 in the shot put.
Sophomore Targie Gervais hit the tape first in the 60 meter dash in 7.94 seconds, and placed second in the 200 meter dash (27.12).
Also placing second was Amy Trainque with a fine time of 5:14.05 in the mile run. Amherst College’s Keri Lambert won the mile in 5:05.12. Lambert finished third in the 2012 NCAA Division III national cross country championships.
Placing fourth were: Rachael Cardin (800, 2:25.23), Carolyn Connolly (1000, 3:09.95) and Amy Auclair (pole vault, 9-6 ¼).
Meghan McNamara was sixth in the 60 meter hurdles (9.82) and Cassidy Noonan placed seventh in the 400 (1:03.47).

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