SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Michael Hagopian scored 14 unanswered points in overtime to pace Suffolk men's basketball to a 91-77 victory over Western New England in its non-conference closer at the Alumni Healthful Living Center Monday night.
SCORE: Suffolk 91 | Western New England 77
RECORDS: Suffolk (9-5) | Western New England (5-11)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Suffolk had to play catch up early on and did so with back-to-back buckets from Alex Jacovides and Steven DiPrizio to take a 6-5 edge. From there the foes changed the lead nines times before Jacovides sandwiched hoops around a triple from Brendan Mulson to cap off a 7-0 Rams run, which put the visitors in front by six, 26-20 with just under seven minutes remaining in the first frame.
Western New England took a timeout to slow down Suffolk and it worked as the hosts went on an 8-2 spurt to level the playing field at 28.
A trey from Jacovides followed by a layup from Mulson put the Rams ahead 33-28 at the 4:09 minute mark. Suffolk was held scoreless from there for the remainder of the first half and WNEC took advantage to send the blue-and-gold into the locker room down two, 35-33.
The hosts late momentum carried into the second stanza as they built a four-point margin. The deficit would not stand for long as DiPrizio took over for Suffolk and went on an 8-2 stretch of his own to gain a 45-41 cushion for the Rams.
Suffolk slowly built its lead to double figures, which finally came at 63-53 when Will Rowe connected on a layup with 7:41 left on the clock in regulation. The distance was not enough to hold the Golden Bears off, however, as they continued to grind and made things interesting after scoring six straight points over a 1:02-minute span with less than five minutes remaining to cut Suffolk's lead to one, 68-67.
The Rams clung onto the edge with ease at the free throw line. Western New England loomed though and a costly turnover and missed layup from Suffolk allowed Zachary Tavitian the opportunity to knot the game with 22 seconds left in regulation. The Golden Bear knocked down the three-pointer to equalize the contest.
Suffolk had a chance to win it in regulation, but once again the Rams threw the ball away and gave WNEC a chance of its own to walk away with the win in regulation. Mikey Pettway's hail mary jumper was off the mark to force the outing into the extra session.
WNEC put the first two points of OT away, but it was all Suffolk from there as the Rams' upperclassmen took over. Jim Djema jump started things with a trey and Hagopian handled things from there scoring 14 unanswered points of his own, which included a four-point play and two additional triples, to put a hefty 91-76 margin between the non-conference foes.
Thanks to Hagopian's hot hands, the Golden Bears had too much ground to make up and Suffolk secured the 91-77 victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Hagopian finished the night with a game-high 26 points with 14 coming in the five-minute OT session. The senior shot 9-for-16 from the field and 5-for-12 beyond-the-arc to push the Rams over the edge. He added eight boards to the effort as well.
- DiPrizio had an all-around game with a 25-point, 14-rebound, two-assist performance.
- Jacovides contributed 22 points and was one rebound shy of a double-double with nine caroms to his credit to go along with one block and one steal.
- Mulson chipped in nine points, four helpers, three rebounds and one takeaway.
- Suffolk went 50 percent (30-60) from the floor, 41.7 percent (10-24) from three-point land and 75.0 percent (21-28) from the charity stripe.
- The Rams had a monstrous rebounding advantage, outrebounding the Golden Bears, 50-28.
- Suffolk met Western New England for the first time in the Jeff Juron era.
- The Rams battled the Golden Bears for the first time since 2013.
- Suffolk strung back-to-back wins versus WNE for the first time since 2002-03.
- The Rams ran their win streak to five straight, marking the most victories since matching that number Dec. 2, 2017 – Jan. 3, 2018.
- Suffolk needed OT to decide a winner for the second time this season.
- The Rams played in their third OT game under Juron's guidance and moved to 2-1 when playing more than 40 minutes with Juron on the bench.
- Suffolk concluded its best non-conference schedule not only in the Juron era, but since playing both a league and non-league slate in 2000.
- DiPrizio posted his second-straight double-double, third of the season and fourth of his career.
- DiPrizio notched a new career-high in points (25) and free throws made (11).
- Jacovides tallied a personal-best nine rebounds and matched a career-high in blocks (1).
- Cameron Powers matched a career-high two steals.
Suffolk remains on the road as it returns to GNAC play Thursday, Jan. 17 when it heads to Anna Maria for a 5 p.m. tilt.