PAXTON, Mass. – The Anna Maria College Men's Basketball team downed the Mustangs of Mount Ida College 68-67 in a thrilling, last second, Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) contest. The win is the first of the season for the AMCATS and lifts them to 1-6 overall and 1-1 in GNAC play. The loss drops the Mustangs to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Anna Maria was led by freshman Mike Rapoza (Charlton, Mass.) who had a double-double with a season high 24 points and 20 rebounds on the night. Senior David Jean-Louis (Miramar, Fla.) followed that lead with 10 points and six rebounds. Junior Liam Pickett (Oxford, Mass.) had nine points off the bench for the AMCATS.
The AMCATS shot 48.9 percent from field goal range and 25 percent from beyond the arc. The Mustangs went 26-for-55 from field goal range for a 47.5 shooting percentage. Brendan Cunningham went 2-for-4 from three-point range to help boost the visitors to 26.7 percent from beyond the arc.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The AMCATS and Mustangs found themselves in a tie game eight times over the course of the first half. The Mustangs took an early 4-0 lead with a jump shot by Dujon followed by a layup from Jacob Sartain with just one minute off the clock. The AMCATS responded quickly with jumpers by Jean-Louis and junior Chris Contento (Marshfield, Mass.) to bring the game to its first tie, 4-4.
The AMCATS took a four-point lead with 14:30 to go following a deep three-pointer made by Jean-Louis and a drive to the basket by Rapoza for two (14-10). Dujan responded with back to back jumpers to tie it back up at 14 a piece with 13:41 to go.
With 1:21 on the clock the AMCATS found some breathing room as they took the largest lead of the half starting with a three-pointer made Jesse Maresca (Sterling, Mass.). Maresca and Pickett combined for three free throws to give the AMCATS the 35-29 lead. A Mustang free throw and three-pointer made by sophomore Joe Kwiatkowski with 33 seconds on the clock would bring the Mustangs within two points going into halftime, 35-33.
The Mustangs tied it back up early into the second half with a bucket by Dujon just a minute and a half in. Both teams went back and forth with jumpers and layups made at each end of the court to bring the game to yet another tie, 41-41 with 15:33 on the clock. Jayson Clark hit a three-pointer to give the Mustangs a 44-41 lead just a minute later.
The game took a turn when the two teams found themselves battling it out at the free throw line with 9:30 on the clock. DeFillippi was sent to the line first for the Mustangs and knocked down both to take the most commanding lead of the game, 52-45. The AMCATS responded by knocking down seven free-throws: four from Rapoza, two from Contento and one from Pickett. These free throws brought the AMCATS back within two points, 58-56 with 5:21 to play.
The game seemed to be determined in the last seconds of the half when Clark made a layup with three seconds on the clock to give the Mustangs a 67-66 lead. The determining factor came when the Mustangs were issued a technical foul immediately following that layup. The AMCATS sent freshman superstar, Mike Rapoza to the line to shoot two. Calm and collected Rapoza drained both free throws to lift the AMCATS to victory over the Mustangs 68-67.
The Anna Maria College Men's Basketball team travels to Rivier on December 3rd for a GNAC contest starting at 3:00 p.m. The Mustangs are at Wheelock College on December 3rd for a 12:00 p.m. tip-off.