BOSTON – The Suffolk men's basketball team mounted an impressive second-half comeback, but the Rams would only get as close as six points to Mount Ida as the Mustangs pulled out a 74-66 victory in GNAC action Thursday night at Regan Gymnasium.
Suffolk (3-8, 1-3 GNAC) jumped out to an early 13-4 lead on a Jake Meister trey, but Mount Ida (6-6, 2-3 GNAC) went on an 18-4 run over the next five minutes on its way to a 22-18 lead with 8:58 remaining before the half.
Curtis Casella broke up the spurt with a long ball, but the basket did not spark a run for Suffolk as Mount Ida scored seven unanswered points to hold a 29-21 edge.
John Oliver put a traditional three-point play in the books for the Mustangs with 4:08 on the clock in the first and the Rams only points the remainder of the way came from Kevin Querusio at the charity stripe leading to a 39-25 Mt. Ida half-time advantage.
Suffolk went without a field goal over the first five minutes and the Mustangs took advantage, building a 20-point cushion. With a heap of underclassmen on the court, the Rams rallied with eight unanswered points to make things interesting.
Thanks to a set from the line by Adam Chick the deficit fell to just seven, 62-55, with 6:05 on the clock, but Jayson Clark answered with three free throws to bring the distance back to double figures.
Determined for the comeback, Casella put a 3-pointer through the netting with 2:43 on the clock. Suffolk had a spark under it, but the Mustangs had an answer for every hoop and made clutch free throws to secure the 74-66 conference triumph.
Suffolk doubled its 20.7 first-half shooting performance in the second half with a 43.3 percent connection rate to finish the day shooting 32.2 percent. Matt McLean led the Rams offense with 14 points off the bench with Michael Hagopian adding 13. Meister chipped in 12 points and Casella pitched 10 points. Chick played big on the boards as the senior guard pulled down a team- and game-high 10 boards.
Mount Ida received an 11-point, 10-rebound, double-double effort from Ethan Dujon, but it waws Clark who led the way with a game-high 21 points. DeFillippi and John Oliver added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Suffolk will return to action Saturday, Jan. 9 when it travels to Rivier for a 3 p.m. GNAC showdown.