MBK: Lasell drops season opener to Fitchburg State; Vanderhorst leads Lasers with 32 points

MBK: Lasell drops season opener to Fitchburg State; Vanderhorst leads Lasers with 32 points

NEWTON, Mass. – Senior Nicholas Tracy (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored a team-high 29 points Friday night as Fitchburg State University defeated Lasell University, 83-74, in the non-conference men's basketball season opener for both schools at the Lasell Athletic Center.

Junior Kevin Vanderhorst (Lawrence, Mass.) led all scorers with 32 points and 11 rebounds for Lasell, connecting on 12-of-19 shots from the field. Junior Kevin Nunez (Dorchester, Mass.) added 15 points for the home team, and classmate Jonathan Friberg (North Attleboro, Mass.) joined Vanderhorst in the double-double club with 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

Tracy made 10-of-16 shots from the field for the winners while collecting a team-high eight rebounds. Senior Devan Harris (Danvers, Mass.) and freshman Xavier Betancourt (Tampa, Fla.) chipped in with 13 points apiece in the victory.

The Falcons opened up a seven-point lead midway through the first half, 16-9. They pushed the lead to double-digits (26-15) with seven minutes to go before junior Angel Reyes (Miami Gardens, Fla.) and Vanderhorst combined for six points for Lasell to cut the margin down to 26-21. A three-pointer by Tracy pushed the Falcon lead back up to 11 points (37-26), and a late three from sophomore Tayjaun McKenzie (Lynn, Mass.) gave the visitors a 42-29 margin at the intermission.

A dunk by Tracy gave the Falcons an 18-point advantage (53-35) early in the second half, and it was still 18 points (59-41) midway through the half. Lasell mounted a comeback attempt, pulling to within seven points (71-64) after a pair of Nunez free throws with three minutes to play, but a Tracy three-point play and a Betancourt layup pushed the margin back up to 12 points and the Falcons maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Both teams are back in action next Wednesday, November 13, as Lasell hosts Babson College at 7 p.m. and Fitchburg State plays its home opener against Clark University at 6 p.m.

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