NEWTON, Mass. – Sophomore Stefan Masciarelli (Northbridge, Mass) scored a game-high 27 points Tuesday evening to lead fourth-seeded Lasell College to an 88-72 victory over fifth-seeded Regis College in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's basketball quarterfinal game at the Lasell Athletic Center.
The Lasers (13-13) advance to a semifinal contest on Thursday, February 22, at top-seeded Albertus Magnus College (20-5) after the Falcons advanced Tuesday with an 87-66 triumph over eighth-seeded Anna Maria College. The Lasell-Albertus Magnus matchup is a rematch of last year's GNAC championship game, won by the Falcons, 101-83.
Masciarelli connected on 8-of-13 shots from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point range as well as all eight free throws. He had 13 points in the first half on 5-of-6 shooting and 3-of-4 from long range as Lasell ran up an 18-point margin after 20 minutes and maintained the lead throughout the second half.
Junior Tim Blair (Newington, Conn) added 17 points and six rebounds for the Lasers, and senior Scott Arsenault (Walpole, Mass.) chipped in with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Both Blair and Arsenault were 2-of-4 from beyond the arc in the first half, as Lasell made 10-of-20 threes in a 46-point frame.
Junior Ademola Afonja (Staten Island, N.Y.) led the Pride with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while classmate Shawn Wedderburn (Bronx, N.Y.) posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Roger Hamel (Huntington Beach, Calif.) added 12 points and four steals, but the Pride season comes to an end with a 12-14 record.
There were four lead changes and three tie scores in the first 11 minutes of the game before Lasell rattled off 10 straight points to take a 28-18 lead with 7:39 remaining in the first half. Junior Joe O'Brien (Saugus, Mass.) and Arsenault hit three-point shots and Blair and freshman Victor Collazo (Clearwater, Fla.) added baskets for Lasell in the rally.
Blair hit a pair of threes as Lasell pushed its lead up to 14 points (36-22) with five minutes to go, and Arsenault added another a minute later to make it a 15-point game. Masciarelli connected from downtown in the final minute to give Lasell a 20-point bulge (46-26) before freshman Marc Trinidad (Bronx, N.Y.) answered with a layup just before the buzzer to make it a 46-28 score at the intermission.
Regis scored the first seven points out of the locker room on a pair of baskets by Wedderburn and a triple from Hamel to cut the margin to 11 before McMahon answered for Lasell with a three-pointer. The Lasers maintained a double-digit lead the next seven minutes until Regis ran off 10 consecutive points, including six points from freshman Juvens Dalger (Oakland Park, Fla.) and two each from Afonja and sophomore Shaun Wingfield (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), to cut the margin down to seven points (59-52) with 10:09 on the clock.
Lasell answered with a run of its own as Blair scored five straight points and then fed Arsenault for a layup to push the lead back to 14 points (66-52) with 9:38 to play. Regis got the margin back to single digits one more time (68-59) with 7:30 remaining, but Lasell answered with six straight points to push the lead back up to 15, and the Pride got no closer than 14 points in the final six minutes.
Lasell defeated Regis for the second time this season, although the Lasers needed a three-pointer by Arsenault with 18 seconds remaining to pull out a 69-67 victory three weeks ago.
Lasell will face a tough challenge against Albertus Magnus in Thursday's semifinal, after falling to the Falcons 78-67 in New Haven, Conn., back on January 20.
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