NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Lasell College had five players score in double figures Thursday evening but couldn't overcome a combined 63 points from sophomore Jahmerikah Green-Younger (Norwalk, Conn.) and senior Jaqhawn Walters (Hartford, Conn.) as top-seeded Albertus Magnus College held off the fourth-seeded Lasers, 97-86, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's basketball semifinal at the Cosgrove Marcus Messer Athletic Center.
Green-Younger scored a game-high 32 points and Walters added 31 points and 16 rebounds for the Falcons (21-5), who advance to their seventh straight GNAC title game. Senior Amir Maddred (Camden, N.J.) added a double-double with 21 points (on 9-of-13 shooting) and 14 rebounds.
Sophomore Stefan Masciarelli (Northbridge, Mass.) led the Lasers with 24 points, while senior Scott Arsenault (Walpole, Mass.) scored 19, draining five three-point field goals (5-of-9). Junior Tim Blair (Newington, Conn.) added 14 points, freshman Victor Collazo (Clearwater, Fla.) chipped in with 11 points off the bench, and senior Derek McMahon (Hatfield, Mass.) finished with 10 points.
Albertus Magnus will host second-seeded Johnson & Wales University (18-9) in Saturday's GNAC Championship game. The Falcons defeated Lasell in last year's title game, 101-83, and Johnson & Wales downed Albertus Magnus for the championship two years ago, 86-75.
The Falcons led most of the first half, pulling ahead by 10 points (17-7) less than five minutes into the game. The lead stretched to 15 points (30-15) with 11:30 showing on the first-half clock, but Lasell bounced back with a 13-1 run over the next five minutes to pull to within three points (31-28). Collazo sparked the Laser run with six points, while freshman Liam Jacobs (Plainfield, Conn.) added four points and Blair made three free throws.
Lasell came all the way back to tie the score at 33-all after a basket by Masciarelli with just under six minutes remaining, but Albertus answered with 14 unanswered points, including four points apiece from Walters and Maddred and three-pointers from Green-Younger and junior Ryan Pittman (Stratford, Conn.). Lasell kept battling and outscored the hosts 8-2 in the final two minutes, including a pair of three-pointers by Arsenault, cutting the deficit to 49-41 at the intermission.
Albertus led by 11 points (61-50) five minutes into the second half but Lasell would not go away quietly, scoring 10 of the game's next 11 points to pull to within two points (62-60) with 13-and-a-half minutes to play, and forcing a Falcons timeout. The Lasers pulled even at 68-all at the midway point of the second half.
The teams traded baskets over the next five minutes, and Albertus had just a three-point margin (80-77) with five minutes to play. Lasell missed two potential game-tying three-pointers and Green-Younger made back-to-back threes for the Falcons to push the lead up to nine points (86-77) with just over three minutes remaining. The Lasers got back to within six points again (90-84) after a Blair three-pointer, but Lasell missed four straight shots from beyond the arc in an attempt to cut into the deficit.
The hosts sealed the win by making 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute and capped it off with a breakway dunk by Walters with 24 seconds remaining.
Lasell finished the season with a 13-14 overall record, falling short of winning its first GNAC Championship since 2008.
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