NEWTON, Mass. (2/21/17) -- The Lasell College men's basketball team surged ahead at the most important time in Tuesday night's Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) quarterfinal contest, scoring six points in the final two minutes for a 76-74 win over Emmanuel College in the Athletic Center.
Third-seeded Lasell improves to 18-8 on the season as junior Derek McMahon (Hatfield, Mass.) hit a three-pointer to win the game with 1:18 left in regulation. The sixth-seeded Saints finish the season 8-18.
Senior John Powell (Ashland, Mass.) led the Lasers with 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting. Junior Ryan Jones (Weymouth, Mass.) added 15, while senior Yordan Villalon (Miami, Fla.) scored 12 and added a game-high 18 rebounds. McMahon also reached double digits with 10 points, while leading Lasell with eight assists and three steals.
Junior Alex Minetti (Wakefield, R.I.) led the Saints with 14 points, while freshman Emmett Riddick (Middletown, Conn.) scored 13 and senior Julian Diggs (Upper Marlboro, Md.) added 12. Senior Matt Raine (Miami, Fla.) recorded six rebounds.
The teams traded baskets early in the first half, but Villalon's triple just past the three-minute marker broke a stretch of three consecutive ties to give Lasell a 9-6 lead. Riddick's jumper brought the Saints within one at 9-8, but Blair hit another three with 15:23 remaining as part of the Lasers' 8-2 run to take a six-point lead.
Powell hit a free throw just over two minutes later to give Lasell its largest lead of the game at seven points. Emmanuel turned that deficit into a two-point lead as Raine hit a jumper with 5:41 to play in the half as part of a ten-point run, while a three from Riddick 58 seconds later gave the visitors a five-point lead at 33-28.
Emmanuel scored six straight points before Jones closed the first half with a layup with 27 seconds remaining, bringing the Lasers within two. Villalon and Powell scored the first four points of the second half to give Lasell a two-point lead 39 seconds in, but neither team led by more than three until Riddick hit a pair of free throws with 12:15 left.
After Jones cut the Lasers' deficit to 58-57 with 10:37 left, the visitors scored 10 of the next 12 points in about a two-minute span before Diggs hit a layup 2:04 later to give Emmanuel a 68-59 lead, its largest of the game.
Powell scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half, including nine straight from the 9:28 to 6:01 markers to bring the Lasers within four. Lasell cut its deficit to just two on three separate occasions in the final stages as McMahon hit two free throws with 4:54 left and Powell laid in a pair of shots.
Powell found McMahon for the game-winning three from the wing with 77 seconds to play before a free throw with eight seconds left clinched the game. The Saints had a final chance to win the game with three seconds left, but Riddick's three fell short.
With the win, the Lasers advance to the GNAC semifinal round and will travel to Providence, R.I., to face the second-seeded Wildcats of Johnson & Wales University on Thursday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m.