AMHERST, Mass. – The Suffolk men's basketball team dropped a 77-64 decision to Worcester State Friday night, to open play at Amherst's 15th Annual Ken Wright '52 Invitational at LeFrak Gymnasium.
Matt Duquette registered 22 points on a 50 percent (8-16) connection rate from the floor to lead Suffolk (0-2). The senior also paced the Rams defensively with eight rebounds and one block. Sophomore Matt McLean put in a career-high 14 points off the bench on a 4-of-7 performance from 3-point range and senior Jake Meister was one point shy of double-figures with nine.
Suffolk shot 42.6 percent (23-54) on the night and was 6-of-18 from beyond-the arc, but committed 14 turnovers leading to 24 Worcester (2-1) points. Bilal Shakir led all scorers with 19 points while also turning in six rebounds, three assists and one steal.
The veteran leadership combination of Adam Chick, Duquette and Meister carried the load early for the Rams, as the seniors combined to score each of Suffolk's first 13 points, but the Lancers held the edge, 17-13. McLean, the first underclassmen to score for the Rams, netted a trey and put Suffolk within one, but Worcester did relent and held onto a nine-point lead, 32-23, with 5:27 to play before half.
Suffolk put together a 9-2 spark over the next 4:33 to come within one possession. A late and-1 from Paul Brooks gave the Lancers a 37-32 cushion into the locker room.
Worcester picked up the pace of play to open the second half and quickly gained a double-digit lead 44-32 at the 16:10 mark. Ten unanswered points from Suffolk, including five from Duquette and a three from McLean kept things interesting as the score moved to 47-42 as the clock ticked under 13.
After triples were traded on either end, the Lancers strung together an 8-2 stretch and hold on to a 58-47 lead at 6:33. Worcester had a response to every one of Suffolk's buckets to hold on for the 77-64 win.
The Rams have a quick turnaround as it returns to LeFrak Gymnasium tomorrow at 1 p.m. for the consolation contest against Johnson State.