New Haven, Conn. – The Albertus Magnus College men's basketball team fell to visiting Fitchburg State, 91-85, on Monday evening in non-conference action at The Nest inside the Cosgrove Marcus Messer Athletic Center. With the loss, the hosts move to 5-1 on the year and see their NCAA-best 59-game home winning streak come to an end. The guests from the Bay State notched their second victory in a row to improve to 5-5 overall.
Albertus Magnus trailed by as many as 16 early in the second half, but saw its feverish come back fall just short. Over the final two and a half minutes of regulation, FSU closed on a 10-3 run, highlighted by making all six of their free-throw attempts.
Back-to-back buckets from Albertus Magnus senior wing Marc Wilson (Jersey City, N.J.) late in the second frame gave the hosts an 82-81 edge with 2:54 left. Following a timeout, Fitchburg senior guard Givaughn Jones pulled down an offensive board after his own miss and laid one in to give FSU a lead they would not surrender.
On the ensuing possession, Fitchburg junior guard Lance Hill stole an entry pass into the post and found classmate Jaleel Bell on a fast break to make it a three-point contest. After an empty possession for each squad, AMC sophomore forward Jaqhawn Walters (Hartford, Conn.) hit a runner in the paint to bring the hosts back to within one.
With just one second left on the shot clock on the following possession, Hill drove to the basket and drew a foul. With the raucous crowd making noise and just 26 seconds left in the contest, Hill jarred both shots from the charity stripe to make it a three-point game once again. Albertus was unable to convert their play coming out of a timeout on the next possession and the guests hit their final four free throws to escape victorious.
Albertus Magnus opened the game on a 9-4 run capped by five straight from sophomore transfer Luciano Martinez (East Hartford, Conn.). FSU would respond with a spurt of their own to tie the game and build their lead up to as many as 10 later in the stanza at 30-20. After a steal and dunk from junior transfer Bernard Kline (Waterbury, Conn.) brought the hosts within two at 34-32 with two minutes left in the opening frame, Fitchburg State closed out the half strong to take a 43-36 lead into the break.
Wilson had another strong outing for the hosts, topping the 20-point plateau for the second straight contest. The senior finished with a game-high 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field. Freshman forward and reigning Great Northeast Conference (GNAC) Rookie of the Week Shontaey Lovell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) recorded his fifth double-double of the winter, netting 18 points and pulling down 13 boards to go along with three assists, two steals and one block. Kline provided a spark off the bench for Albertus Magnus, scoring a career-high 16 points thanks to knocking down a pair of shots from beyond the arc and four free throws.
It was a balanced offensive attack for Fitchburg State, as the guests saw four players score in double figures. Junior guard Leonny Burgos paced the attack for FSU, netting 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Hill was productive off the bench for the guests, scoring 20 points thanks to hitting two treys and all four of his free-throw attempts. Bell was all over the place for Fitchburg State, scoring 19 points to go along with a game-best six assists, three steals and eight rebounds. Senior forward Kwame Lee added 10 points on a 5-of-6 shooting from the field for the guests as well.
The biggest difference in the contest came at the free-throw line where the visitors knocked down 17-of-18 attempts, while the hosts hit 20-of-34 from the charity stripe. FSU had more than two-thirds of their points (58) come in the paint, thanks to their guards knifing to the basket for layups.
Albertus Magnus returns to action on Wednesday, December 9, with a home non-conference clash against No. 24 Brooklyn College at 7:00 pm. The tilt with the Bulldogs is the final one of the calendar for the Falcons and the first-ever between the two schools.