NEWTON, Mass. – The Lasell College men's basketball team will face a familiar foe in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) playoffs when the GNAC Tournament gets underway this Tuesday evening, February 19.
The eighth-seeded Lasers will travel to top-seeded Albertus Magnus College Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. for a quarterfinal match-up at the Cosgrove Marcus Messer Athletic Center in New Haven, Conn. It will be the fourth straight season that the two programs have met in the playoffs.
The recent string of post-season encounters started in 2016, when third-seeded Albertus upset the second-seeded Lasers, 87-80, in a semifinal at the Lasell Athletic Center. The teams met in the championship game in 2017 in New Haven, with the top-seeded Falcons pulling away to a 101-83 victory over the third-seeded Lasers. Last year, it was a semifinal clash with top-seeded Albertus Magnus taking a 97-86 victory on home court over the fourth-seeded Lasers.
Lasell earned its GNAC berth this season with a victory over Anna Maria College on the final day of the regular season. The Lasers will take a 7-18 overall record into the playoffs, finishing in a tie with the University of Saint Joseph (Connecticut) for seventh place in the conference with a 5-6 mark. Albertus Magnus (17-7 overall) defeated Suffolk University on the final day of the regular season, earning a tie with the Rams for the regular season crown with 9-2 marks and earning the top seed with the head-to-head victory.
Tuesday's meeting will be a rematch of the regular season match-up between the two teams at Lasell on Saturday, February 9. The Lasers led at halftime and much of the second half before Albertus Magnus scored 10 unanswered points in the final four minutes to pull out the 98-93 victory.
Junior Stefan Masciarelli (Northbridge, Mass.) and sophomore Dylan Murray (Williston, Fla.) combined for 54 points for the Lasers against the Falcons; Masciarelli was 7-for-15 from the floor and 14-for-14 from the free throw line for 28 points and Murray was 8-of-9 from the field, including 7-of-8 from three-point range, finishing with 26 points. Sophomore Liam Jacobs (Plainfield, Conn.) added 14 points off the bench and classmate Kevin Nunez (Dorchester, Mass.) contributed 11 points.
Masciarelli leads the GNAC in scoring and ranks 15th nationally with 24.2 points per game, and tops the conference and ranks eighth nationally with a 92.5 percentage from the free throw line. He also ranks second in the conference with 4.4 assists per game and ninth with 64 three-point baskets.
Nunez finished the GNAC season ranked 10th in scoring with 18.2 points per game in conference games. Murray averaged 12.1 points on the season and made 70 three-point hoops for the Lasers, third-most in the GNAC.
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