BOSTON – Suffolk men basketball's Boston Commons battle with Emerson came down to the wire Tuesday night with the Rams falling just short, 72-68, in front of a standing room only crowd at Regan Gymnasium.
SCORE: Suffolk 68 | Emerson 72
RECORDS: Suffolk (2-3) | Emerson (3-3)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Emerson quickly put away the first two buckets of the game both in the paint to grab an early edge. Suffolk went on a tear from there, scoring 11 unanswered, which turned into a 16-2 Suffolk stretch to put the blue-and-gold ahead 16-6. The run forced the Lions to take a timeout with just under 12 minutes left on the clock in the first frame.
Out of the huddle, the visitors cut the deficit to nine, but the Rams managed to remain in front and took their largest lead of the half, 24-10, behind a triple from Brendan Mulson.
As time ticked off the scoreboard, the Lions made a run and pulled within 10, 33-23, as Ben Holding converted a traditional three-point play with 1:15 to go before intermission.
Suffolk used the clock in its favor to end the half. With less the five seconds before the buzzer, Thomas Duffy made a move from the right wing and reached the basket in time to lay the rock in, while falling down, and send the Rams into the break ahead by 12, 35-23.
As the second stanza opened, Emerson heated up and Suffolk cooled off. The Rams ice cold offense, which went scoreless over the first seven minutes of the second half, allowed the Lions to rattle off 14 consecutive points and turn the tides in their favor, 37-34.
Michael Hagopian broke up the scoring draught with a pull-up baby jumper 7:09 into the second stanza action. The Rams did not rally around the senior's shot, however, and Emerson took its largest advantage of the night, 45-37 on a Geoffrey Gray trey at the 11:32 minute mark.
Mulson and Duffy joined forces to anchor Suffolk's comeback with the sophomore and junior slowly chipping away at the Lions lead. The Rams outscored the visitors 12-4 with Mulson recording the first six and Duffy tallying the second set to level the playing field at 49-49 with 8:50 left in regulation.
A tight contest remained for the rest of the way as the score equalized twice more and the lead was swapped five times with the last coming on a Mulson long ball that put Suffolk ahead 59-57 with just over five minutes to go.
Two possessions later, Duffy added to the Rams' edge with a pair of freebies. The four-point margin would not be enough though as the Lions came back to lock things at 64-64.
Mulson responded from beyond-the-arc to keep Suffolk in front, but history repeated itself and the score evened at 66-all on a layup from Jarred Houston.
The back-and-forth affair continued as the front end of a two-shot trip to the charity strip from Jack O'Connor pushed the visitors ahead, 67-66. Suffolk missed an opportunity on its next possession, which allowed Emerson to add to its edge as Gray connected on pair of free throws.
Duffy answered with a set of shots from foul line of his own to keep it a one possession game with 25 seconds left.
Suffolk's full court pressure forced the Lions to use two quick timeouts. The Rams could not come up with the steal and gambled with the foul game, sending Zach Waterhouse to the line.
Waterhouse missed one, made one to push the Lions cushion to three with less than 20 seconds on the clock.
With six seconds to play, Duffy had a chance to tie it, but his attempt from three-point land rattled off the back rim, securing the 72-68 non-conference clash in Emerson's favor.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Duffy finished the day with 27 points on a 6-for-17 showing from the field and a 13-for-14 effort the foul line. He led the way on the glass as well with seven caroms to go with three helpers.
- Mulson recorded 19 points, going 4-for-7 from downtown, and pulled down five rebounds.
- Hagopian and Jim Djema each chipped in five points. The former added three caroms and a pair of dimes, while the latter set-up three shots, had two takeaways and two boards.
- Off the bench, Steven DiPrizio contributed six rebounds and four points, while Max Bonney-Liles pitched in six caroms, two points and one steal.
- As a team Suffolk shot 35.0 percent (21-60) from the floor, just 29.0 percent (9-31) from behind-the-line and used its 81.0 connection rate (17-21) on free throws to remain in the game.
- Emerson, who saw three players in double figures, had a narrow edge on the glass, 39-38.
- Duffy has produced back-to-back 20-plus point games and has scored more than 20 points in three of Suffolk's five games this season.
- Mulson reached double figures for the fourth time this season.
Suffolk is set for a trip to Framingham State Saturday, Dec. 1. The non-conference clash is scheduled for a 1 p.m. tip-off.