PAXTON, Mass – Tuesday night the AMCATS hosted the number four seed in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, Suffolk University, in the Fuller Center. The 'Cats were up for the challenge as they upset the Rams, 75-69.
The AMCATS were led by senior guard Liam Pickett (Oxford, Mass) who scored a game high 17 points on eight-of-10 shooting from the field. Pickett also picked up three steals in the game. Recording his 16th double-double of the season, sophomore forward Mike Rapoza (Charlton, Mass) tallied 15 points and pulled down 17 rebounds. Rapoza also swatted a career high five shots on the night. Joining the double-digit party for the AMCATS were sophomore guard Bobby Perette (Marshfield, Mass) who scored 12 points on four-of-five shooting from beyond the arch, and senior forward Kenneth Graham (West Haven, Conn) who scored 11 points while dishing out four assists. Senior guard Tanner Jakole (Leominster, Mass) added nine points for the 'Cats. He shot three-for-five from three-land. Finally, and certainly not least, senior guard Chris Contento (Marshfield, Mass) assisted his teammates a career-high 11 times in the game. Contento also pulled down four rebounds.
For the Rams, three players reached double-digits. Sophomore guard Thomas Duffy (Fairfield, Conn) led Suffolk with 16 points while also pulling down six rebounds and assisting his teammates five times. Sophomore guard George Grillakis (Lowell, Mass) added 11 points for the visitors on five-of-seven shooting from the field. Joining them with 10 points was freshman guard Alex Jacovides (Tampa, Fla). He was four-of-six shooting.
Though they would lose momentum from time to time, the AMCATS controlled this game from start to finish. Anna Maria would only trail three times in this game and all three instances came in the first five minutes of play. AMC opened the scoring with Pickett scoring thirty seconds in. After the Rams took the lead at the 15:12 mark of the half, Rapoza and freshman guard Ralph Grasso, Jr. (Marlborough, Mass) would combine for six points over the next three minutes to give the AMCATS a four-point lead with 13 to play. From there the 'Cats would extend their lead out to 12 points. For the next four minutes the teams would trade possessions but not baskets as the next scoring play didn't come until the 9:10 mark when Duffy hit back-to-back free throws to get back within 10. Anna Maria would keep that 10-point lead pace until the 2:30 mark when the Rams pulled back within seven with a three-pointer. The teams would then trade baskets to the final whistle and the AMCATS and Rams would head to the locker room with the score 41-32, in favor of Anna Maria.
The second half started with the AMCATS extending their lead. First to 12 points, then with back-to-back threes from Perette and baskets from Rapoza and Graham, they saw themselves up by 18 at the 14:49 mark of the half. Over the next four minutes the Rams would start to claw back but it wasn't enough, yet, as AMC matched their pace. It wasn't until the 10-minutes mark that Suffolk's offense kicked it in to high gear. The AMCATS watched their once 20-point advantage disappear and after multiple three pointers by the visitors and a handful of missed shots by Anna Maria, Suffolk was back within six points with six and a half minutes to play. The 'Cats did enough to hold their lead though the Rams were knocking at the door. With just over a minute to play, AMC led by six. Duffy would pull his team back within four with a bucket at the 20 second mark. This was where the AMCATS were able to seal the deal as the Rams had no choice but to send Contento and then Graham to the line where they made three of the four free throws to finish off the Rams, 75-69.
Next up for the AMCATS, a road trip to Boston to take on Emmanuel College at 5:30pm in GNAC play.
Click Here to view the full box score from tonight's game.