NEWTON, Mass. – Lasell College rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit Saturday afternoon to defeat Rivier University, 71-69, in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's basketball regular season finale at the Lasell Athletic Center.
Lasell winds up the regular season with a 12-13 overall record, finishing in fourth place in the GNAC with a 10-6 mark. The Lasers will host fifth-seeded Regis College (12-13, 9-7) Tuesday in a GNAC Tournament quarterfinal game at 7:00 p.m. at the Athletic Center. Rivier finishes its season at 2-23 overall and 1-15 in conference play.
Lasell trailed 46-31 in the early minutes of the second half and was down 50-37 with 14:27 to play before staging the huge comeback. A 10-2 surge, sparked by three-pointers from sophomore Stefan Masciarelli (Northbridge, Mass) and senior Scott Arsenault (Walpole, Mass.) cut the deficit to five points (52-47), and another three by Arsenault with 8:17 to play gave Lasell its first lead of the second half, 59-57.
After a basket by senior Dannie Moore (Orlando, Fla.) put Lasell up by four (61-57), the upset-minded Raiders did not go away, coming back to regain the lead after a three-ball from sophomore Tristian Givens (Windsor, Conn.) and a pair of free throws by classmate Josh L'Heureux (Dracut, Mass.) with six minutes to play. The lead see-sawed back and forth seven more times in the next five-and-a-half minutes, capped by Arsenault's second-chance basket with 30 seconds remaining to put Lasell ahead, 70-69.
Down 71-69 with 12 seconds remaining, Rivier had a last possession, but senior Derek McMahon (Hatfield, Mass.) stole the ball for Lasell to clinch the win.
All five starters scored in double figures for Lasell, as Arsenault scored a team-high 21 points, junior Tim Blair (Newington, Conn.) added 15, Moore chipped in with 14, and McMahon and Masciarelli finished with 10 each. Moore led the way with 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
Givens topped the visitors with 16 points while freshman Tarik Rivers (Stamford, Conn.) added 13 points.
Lasell recognized its four seniors prior to the game on Senior Day, which included Arsenault, Moore, McMahon and Dillan Foss (Cranston, R.I.)
Tuesday's playoffs game for Lasell against Regis is a rematch of the February 1 match-up at the Athletic Center, when the Lasers pulled out a 69-67 victory.
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