Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
FITCHBURG, Mass. – The Elms College men's basketball team fell to host Fitchburg State, 91-65, in a non-conference tilt at Parkinson Gymnasium Tuesday evening. The Blazers move to 0-5 on the season, while the Falcons sit at 2-3 overall.
After back-and-forth play in the opening minutes, the Falcons built a 10-5 advantage after back-to-back layups from junior Mustapha Koroma (Lowell, Mass.) and junior Chima Ebele (Hyde Park, Mass.). Trailing 14-8 with 16:09 remaining, the Blazers evened the score at 16-16 over the next minute, behind consecutive treys from senior Symon Smith (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and freshman Diomanni Fernandez (Tamarac, Fla.). Fitchburg State regained control with a 13-3 run, fueled by six points from senior Jalen Williams (Meriden, Conn.), to create a 29-19 gap. Elms freshman Spencer Douglas (Hollywood, Fla.) connected on a pair of three-pointers to trim the deficit to 29-25 with 6:54 on the clock. After a three-point play from Falcons junior Joshua Bosworth (Springfield, Mass.) made it 35-27, Blazers freshman DeAngelo Cousar (Bowie, Md.) knocked down a jumper and a trey to pull Elms within a possession, 35-32, at the 5:18 mark. Holding a 37-34 edge, Fitchburg State outscored Elms, 8-2, over the final minutes to take a 45-36 lead into halftime.
The Falcons developed a double-digit lead early in the second half with a 9-4 run over the opening four minutes to push their advantage to 54-40. The sides exchanged baskets throughout the midpoint of the second half as buckets from Elms senior Conny Ihearahu (Largo, Md.) sandwiched a 6-0 run by Fitchburg, followed by a three-point play by Cousar to set the score at 78-59 with 5:32 to play. The Falcons outscored the Blazers, 13-6 down the stretch, keeping the Blazers off the scoreboard for the final 3:07 of the contest, to lock up the 91-65 win.
Smith paced the Blazers offense with a tied game-high 17 points with six rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Ihearahu tallied 12 points, nine rebounds and a game-high four blocks, while Cousar notched 12 points with three rebounds. Fernandez, Douglas and senior Trifon Bish (St. Catherine, Jamaica) each added six points in the loss.
The Falcons had five scorers in double figures, led by Williams with a double-double of a game-high 17 points with a game-high 19 rebounds. Bell logged a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Ebele chipped in 13 points and four rebounds. Bosworth contributed 11 points, nine rebounds and a game-high five assists, while senior Leonny Burgos (Lawrence, Mass.) added 11 points behind three three-pointers.
The Blazers will be back on the court when they open their 2016-17 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) schedule with a road trip to Wheelock Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. tip. Fitchburg State hosts WPI in non-conference action Saturday at 1:00 p.m.