WORCESTER, Mass. - The Worcester State University men's basketball team opened its 2019-20 season in the win column, defeating Clark University 78-70 in the annual Midnight Mayhem game early Friday morning at the Kneller Athletic Center.
With the win, Worcester State advances to 1-0 on the young season, while Clark drops to 0-1. For the second consecutive season, the Lancers are the first team in all of Division III basketball, men or women, to win a game.
The Cougars led for the majority of the first half, but took only a narrow 33-29 lead into the locker room. Worcester State jumped out to an early 4-1 lead on a pair of Chris Cardoso (Jamaica Plain, Mass.) free throws and an Erik Bjorn (Holden, Mass.) layup, but the Lancers were forced to call a timeout after a 10-0 Cougar run gave the hosts an 11-4 lead.
The Cougar lead grew as large as eight in the opening 20 minutes, but the Lancers chiseled away at the lead, cutting it to as close as one point, but didn't tie the game or take the lead. Cardoso and junior Joe Desormier (Granby, Mass.) each scored seven points in the first half to lead Worcester State.
The Lancers came out of the break and quickly grabbed their first lead since the score was 4-3, as senior Tyler Dion (Barre, Mass.) hit a layup and a triple in the first minute of the second half. The Lancers would never look back from there, extending its lead to as large as 13 down the stretch en route to the season opening victory.
Worcester State was led by senior Cal Howes (Maynard, Mass.), who finished the evening with 17 points. Howes was one of four Lancers in double figures, as Dion and Bjorn each finished with 15 points, and Cardoso with 12 for Worcester State. Bjorned and Cardoso were Worcester's leading rebounders, each finishing a rebound shy of a double-double with nine.
The Lancers will return to action on Saturday evening with a road game at Emerson College. Tip-off between the Lancers and Lions is set for 6 p.m.