NEWTON, Mass. (2/26/16) – The second seeded Lasell College men's basketball team fell 87-80 to third seeded Albertus Magnus College in Thursday night's Great Northeast Athletic Conference semifinal game. The Lasers conclude their season at 18-9 overall, the best winning percentage the program has posted since the 2007-08 team finished 20-9. The Falcons pushed their record to 20-5 and earned their fifth straight GNAC championship game appearance.
Junior Armin Omanovic finished with 27 points and five assists to lead the way for Lasell, senior Richard O'Brien netted 17 points including four three pointers. Senior Logan Liberty posted his fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Lasers and senior Pat Marchand chipped in with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Shontay Lovell paced the Falcons attack with 22 points on 7-9 shooting from the floor and 8-8 from the line to go with 12 rebounds. Jaqwan Walters added 21 points, a game-high 18 rebounds and six assists for Albertus Magnus. Grant Ellis chipped in 14 points and Ryan Pittman finished with 10.
Albertus Magnus used a 12-4 spurt in the first half to turn a 5-5 tie into a 17-9 lead with 12:14 remaining in the opening half. The Lasers clawed back to cut the lead to 21-17 but the Falcons responded with a 9-2 burst behind seven points from Ellis to take a 30-19 lead with 5:32 left until halftime. A Scott Arsenault triple swung momentum to Lasell, and Marchand added the next four points to make it a 30-26 Albertus advantage and the teams traded baskets heading into the half with Albertus in front 38-35.
Lasell knotted the game at 42-42 with 18:28 left in the second half on a layup and one by O'Brien, but a three point play by the Falcons Marc Wilson ignited a 19-3 run as Lasell went cold from the floor. Shontay Lovell tallied eight points in the run which also featured a pair of three's from Chace Dunbar.
Omanovich's driving layup with just over 10 minutes to play stopped the run, cutting the Albertus lead to 61-47. Albertus pushed their lead to 18, at 66-48 with just over eight minutes remaining but the Lasers answered with an O'Brien triple, followed by five straight points from Pat Marchand trimming the deficit to 68-56 with six minutes remaining.
A layup by Lovell with 5:04 left in the game put the Falcons in front 73-58, but the Lasers kept battling back. Omanovic scored six straight to get the deficit to nine, and after an Albertus basket RJ O'Brien knocked in his fourth three of the game, followed by an Omanovic layup and a pair of free throws by Logan Liberty to make it a 75-71 game with 2:33 remaining. Lasell was unable to complete the comeback as Albertus was able to close out the game from the free throw line, making 10-14 from the stripe over the final two minutes.
Albertus will take on Johnson and Wales University on Saturday afternoon in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship game.