Paxton, Mass. – Anna Maria College outlasted Johnson & Wales University, 76-68, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference men's basketball contest at The Fuller Activities Center on Saturday afternoon. Senior Javier Bristol (Haverhill, Mass.) poured in a game-high 25 points with 9 rebounds in the victory. With the win the AMCATS (11-7, 9-2 GNAC) extend their winning streak to eight games, and consecutive wins in the GNAC to nine while Johnson & Wales drop to 10-9 overall, 9-3 in the GNAC.
Also pacing the AMCATS was senior Anthony Click (Springfield, Mass) who contributed 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting; he also had 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. Teammate Hugh Daye (Worcester, Mass.) joined Click and Bristol in double figures shooting 4-for-9 from the floor and a perfect 2-of-2 from the charity stripe for 10 points.
The Wildcats' had four starters in double figures, junior Esaie Touze scored 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the games only double-double. Guard Curtis Lucas notched a team-high 16 points while Tom Garrick, Jr. and Quarry Greenway each pitched in 13 and 14 point, respectively.
The teams traded baskets for the first minutes of the game and with 12:47 still on the clock the score was notched at 11-11. Anna Maria followed with a 19-7 burst that included five points by Click and a Barillo trifecta to help the hosts secure a 30-18 advantage with less than five minutes remaining in the half. The AMCATS seemed to be on the verge of pulling away but the Wildcats responded with a run of their own outscoring the AMCATS 16-6 to cut the deficit to 36-34 heading into intermission.
In the first stanza, Anna Maria shot 34.3% (12-35) from the field and 64.7% (11-17) from the free throw line. JWU shot 39.3 (11-28) from the floor and 68.8 (11-16) from the charity stripe in the opening 20 minutes.
Anna Maria pushed the lead to five, 39-34 with a Click three pointer to open the second half and when Joey Barillo drained a second trey of the night the lead was boosted to 47-41 with 15:09 remaining. The Wildcats once again refused to go away quietly, over a four minute stretch and down 51-46 Johnson & Wales scored eleven unanswered points to take a 55-51 lead at the 9:57 mark.
Anthony Click completed a three-point play and senior Jose Pena (Lawrence, Mass) sank one-of-two free throws as Anna Maria erased the lead with nine minutes to play, 55-55. JWU's Jordan Jones sank a layup with 7:32 left in the contest to tie the game for the sixth time in the half and the last of the night at 59-59.
With less than five minutes to play the AMC seniors took over the game. First, Javier Bristol made a nifty move from the right corner to the basket for a finger-roll hoop then Click drove the lane for a layup to clinch the 76-68 victory.
Overall, Anna Maria shot 40.9 (27-66) from the floor, 23.1% (3-13) from downtown, and 67.9% (19-28) from the free throw line while the Wildcats shot 39.3 (22-56) from the field, 18.2% (2-11) from three-point range and 71% (22-31) from the FT line.
Anna Maria will host Suffolk University on Monday night for a 7:00 PM GNAC contest.