WORCESTER, Mass. - The Worcester State University men's basketball team is off to the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship game after defeating MCLA 96-72 Thursday night in the conference semifinals at John P. Brissette Court.
With the win, Worcester State moves to 15-11 overall on the season, and will face Westfield State in the MASCAC Championship on Saturday afternoon.
Worcester State jumped out to a quick start in the first half and never looked back. The Lancers hit three-pointers on each of its first three possessions of the contest to take a 9-0 lead just 1:28 in. Sophomore Corey Olivier (Maynard, Mass.) hit the first two, followed by the first of five triples of the evening by freshman Sam Dion (Barre, Mass.).
The Lancers would never look back in the opening half, leading by as many as 24 points before the break after a Tyler Dion (Barre, Mass.) three-pointer put Worcester State up 51-27 with 5:02 to play. MCLA closed the first half on a 10-2 run, but the Lancers still held a 53-37 edge headed to the locker room.
The hosts made a remarkable 10 three-pointers before the half, shooting 62.5 percent from distance. Worcester shot 20-for-38 (52.6 percent) from the floor in the half. Sam Dion was the game's leading scorer in the period with 12 points, followed closely by MCLA's Quentin Gittens with 11.
A pair of triples in the first 2:40 of the second half saw MCLA cut its deficit to just 12, but the Lancers kicked it back into gear from there to seal the win. After a pair of Chris Cardoso (Jamaica Plain, Mass.) free throws with 2:55 to play, Worcester State grabbed its largest lead of the night at 25 points at 92-67.
Sam Dion was the game's leading scorer with 24 points, while Cardoso recorded a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double. Tyler Dion and junior Erik Bjorn (Holden, Mass.) also reached double figures in the win with 14 and 11 points respectively.
Gittens was MCLA's leading scorer with 17 points, while Antoine Montgomery dropped 13.