Worcester State Outlasts Fitchburg State, 91-87 (OT)
Valliere paces Falcons with a team-best 23 points and nine rebounds
WORCESTER, Mass. (February 7, 2012) – Junior Zach Valliere (Douglas, Mass./Douglas) collected a team-high 23 points to lead the Fitchburg State men's basketball team but the Falcons dropped a tough overtime match up to Worcester State University, 91-87 in MASCAC action this evening.
Worcester State sophomore Robert Hunter (St. Louis, MO/Normandy) netted a game-best 36 points, shooting 16-of-28 from the field, to lift the Lancers to their fifth conference victory of the year. Hunter added 11 rebounds to the mix, competing his double-double effort, while junior Riley Sullivan (N. Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth) also added a double-double with 20 points and ten boards. Senior Frank Stephenson (Fall River, Mass./Durfee) was also solid with 17 points on 5-of-17 shooting.
Valliere led the Falcons attack, hitting 8-of-17 from the field and 7-of-9 from the charity stripe, while sophomore Mike Ingram-Rubin (Boston, Mass./Bedford) added 19 points and a game-high six steals to the mix. Classmate Brandon Selby (Boston, Mass./Bedford) and senior Jeremy Kimber (Fitchburg, Mass./Fitchburg) were also strong with 12 points and 11 points respectively.
After trailing by eight (15-7) in the opening minutes of the first half, Fitchburg State rallied back, scoring nine consecutive points to own a 28-26 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the half. The Falcons carried that momentum for the remainder of the period, led by Valliere's nine points, to snag a three point advantage at the break (39-36).
In the second half, Fitchburg State regained its momentum opening a commanding 14 point lead (60-46) after back-to-back lay-ups from Valliere, but Worcester State bounced back, stringing together a 24-9 run to cut its deficit to only five (69-63) with seven minutes remaining in regulation. Ferrreiera sparked the Lancers rally with a pair of three pointers, while Hunter added a set of lay-ups.
The Lancers did not stop there, scoring ten more consecutive points to take a four point lead (73-69), but the Falcons ended their scoring drought as Ingram-Rubin drained six straight points to give Fitchburg State a 75-73 advantage. The Lancers regained the lead with a Hunter lay-up and Stephenson three, but Ingram-Rubin's last ditch three with no time remaining sent the game into a five minute overtime.
In the extra frame both teams continued to trade buckets with Worcester State holding an 86-84 advantage with just 1:26 remaining in the period. But Fitchburg State again answered the call, earning a one point margin (87-86) as Valliere slammed home a dunk and converted the and-one free throw. Hunter gave the Lancers a one point advantage on the next trip down the floor and three consecutive free-throws down the stretch sealed the victory for Worcester State.
Fitchburg State (11-10, 2-7 MASCAC) will be back in action on Saturday as it hosts Salem State at 3 p.m. Worcester State (8-15, 5-5 MASCAC) will visit Bridgewater State on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.