NEWTON, Mass. – For the first time season, the Suffolk men's basketball team put together back-to-back victories as the Rams held off Mount Ida, 81-75, inside the Harold Alfond Center Tuesday night.
All five of Suffolk's (6-16, 4-11 GNAC) starters put together double-figure performances led by Matt Duquette's 24 points. The junior forward shot 9-of-14 from the field and a 6-of-9 showing at the line went along with 13 rebounds, two blocks, two assists and one steal. Adam Chick, who made his 100th career appearance tonight in a Rams uniform, just the 14th player in Suffolk history to do so, shot 70 percent (7-10) from the floor for 17 points. Jake Meister and Michael Hagopian registered 14 points and Caleb Unni added 10.
Collectively, the Rams shot 48.3 percent (28-58) from the field, 50 percent from three (10-20) and 75 percent from the stripe (15-20). Suffolk held advantages in rebounds, 38-31, and second chances, 13-0.
Jayson Clark's 18 points paved the way for Mount Ida (11-11, 7-8 GNAC), who called upon its reserves for 24 points.
Mount Ida was the first to get on the scoreboard, but Duquette quickly responded for the Rams with a layup. From there, the junior teamed with Chick to build an early 10-4 lead. The Mustangs, who were heavily relying on the three-ball, sandwiched triples around a Chick drive, but Suffolk hung out in front, 12-10.
Hagopian had an answer for Mt. Ida's trey with one of his own and Duquette followed that with a baby-jumper to give the Rams a seven-point cushion. Out of a Mustangs' timeout, Meister got in on the three-point game with the senior sinking two to give Suffolk its largest advantage of the first-half, 23-15, at 7:34.
Over the next 3:26, the Mustangs rolled on a 13-2 run to take a 31-26 advantage with 3:19 remaining before intermission. Three's from Hagopian and Unni chipped away at the host's lead, but Joey DeFlillippi sunk a buzzer beater triple to send the Rams into the locker room down, 38-33.
Chick opened the second stanza the same way he did the contest, with six quick points to pull Suffolk within 1, 40-39, just 1:55 into half. Mt. Ida put together back-to-back hoops to jump ahead by five, but a 3-pointer from Meister and a set of freebies from Duquette leveled the playing field at 44 at 16:05.
With just over 14 minutes remaining in regulation, Duquette connected on a traditional and-1 to give Suffolk its first lead since 7:34 of the first half. The three-point play by Duquette sparked a 15-4 stretch for the Rams that blossomed to a 60-49 advantage at the midway point of the second half.
In a game of runs, the Mustangs put in six unanswered points to make it a five point game. Meister's first hoop inside the arc on the day ignited a 10-4 Rams stretch that gave the blue-and-gold its first double digit lead of the evening, 70-60 at 2:56. The run featured eight points from Duquette.
Mt. Ida fouled down the stretch and three's from DeFlillippi brought the hosts within seven twice. Suffolk capitalized on its trips to the charity stripe, however, shooting 8-of-10, including three perfect trips from Hagopian to hang onto an 81-72 lead with seven seconds on the clock. With two seconds left, Clark put in one from deep to cut things down to six, but with time played in favor for the Rams, who hung onto the 81-75 victory.
Suffolk returns to action Saturday, Feb. 13 when it entertains Rivier. Prior to the 3:15 p.m. tip, the Rams will honor the playing careers of its five graduating seniors.