Bears Fall to Westfield State, 86-73

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BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Junior forward Jauch Green Jr. (Hartford, Conn.) posted a double-double with a game-high 29 points to go along with 15 rebounds to lead the visiting Westfield State University men's basketball team to an 86-73 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) victory over Bridgewater State University on Saturday afternoon at the Tinsley Center.

The Owls improve to 9-6 on the season and 2-0 in the MASCAC, while the Bears fall to 3-11 overall and 1-1 in conference play.

Green Jr., who is now 11 points shy of 1,000 for his collegiate career, connected on 11 of 18 field goal attempts and five of his team-best 15 rebounds came off the offensive glass. He also added five assists, two steals and a pair of blocked shots.

Sophomore guard Christopher Prophet (Springfield, Mass.) added 18 points and five boards in 28 minutes off the bench for the Owls, while senior forward Marcus Collins (Cambridge, Mass.) recorded a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Sophomore guard Malik Pouncy (Mattapan, Mass.) rounded of Westfield's double-digit scorers with 12 points.

Junior forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, N.C.) paced Bridgewater State with 19 points, a game-high 16 rebounds (six offensive) and four blocked shots as he posted his fourth straight double-double and sixth of the season. Junior guard Ryan Carney (Easton, Mass.) added a team-best 22 points to go along with seven boards and five assists, while freshman guard Admar Jaramillo (Brockton, Mass.) checked in with 12 points, four assists and four steals. Sophomore center Nick Crocker (Falmouth, Mass.) contributed nine rebounds, two steals and a career-best five blocked shots to go along with six points.

The Owls used a 9-0 run to open up a 19-11 lead with 12 ½ minutes remaining in the first half. Prophet highlighted the run with five points including a traditional three-point play. Later in the period, a Bay layup gave the Owls their biggest lead of the half, 26-15, with just under ten minutes left to play. The Bears answered with seven straight points on a the strength of Carney layup and trifecta to cut the deficit to 26-22.

Back-to-back buckets by Prophet and Pouncy pushed the Westfield advantage back up to eight, 30-22, but the Bears responded with an 12-4 run to knot the score at 34-34 with 2:17 remaining. Mercado and Monteiro Jr. connected on three-pointers during the run while Ward notched four points and Carney capped it off with a layup.

A Pouncy three-pointer followed by a Green Jr. layup pushed the Owls back in front, 39-34, but BSU sophomore forward Cole Stairs (Boylston, Mass.) closed out the stanza with a pair of baskets including a layup with two seconds left to make it a one-point game (39-38) at the break.

Carney paced the Bears with 13 first-half points, while Ward checked in with 11. Green Jr. scored 13 points over the first 20 minutes for the Owls.

The Bears shot 42% (16-38) from the floor in the first half including 4-for-12 (33%) from behind the arc, while The Owls connected on 41% (17-42) of their field goals attempts and went just 1-for-7 (14%) from three-point range and 4-for-9 (44%) at the free throw line. Westfield dominated the boards Bridgewater was whistled for nine fouls, while Westfield committed just four.

The first four minutes of the second half featured four ties and five lead changes. Down 47-45, the Owls went on a 15-2 run to take an 11-point lead (60-49) with 12 minutes remaining. Prophet knocked down a pair of three-pointers during the run while Green Jr. tallied five points. The Bears fought back and held the Owls to just two free throws over the next four minutes. Bridgewater scored nine points during that stretch, highlighted by four points from Crocker and a traditional three-point play by Carney, to make it a four-point game, 62-58.

The Westfield defense returned the favor, however, as the Owls kept the Bears off the board over the next three minutes. Four straight layups, a pair by Green Jr. and two from Collins, quickly pushed the Westfield lead up to 12 (70-58) as the clock ticked under six minutes. Bridgewater never threatened the rest of the way as the Owls got up by as many as 15 points on two different occasions before settling for the 86-73 win.

Westfield shot 45% (34-75) for the game and finished 14-for-26 (54%) at the charity stripe. The Owls held a 57-42 rebounding advantage with a 20-14 edge on the offensive boards, and made 14 more trips to the line.

Bridgewater connected on just 32% (13-41) of its field goal attempts in the second half, including 1-for-10 from behind the arc. The Bears shot 37% (29-79) for the game.

Both teams are back in action on Wednesday evening. The Bears entertain the Vikings of Salem State University at 5:30, while the Owls travel to Framingham State University for a six o'clock game with the Rams.