By Kurtis Kendall
Wednesday, February 6th- The Fitchburg State Falcons (10-12) beat the MCLA Trailblazers (6-16) 94-73 Wednesday night. It was a wire to wire victory for the Falcons, who grabbed the lead early and never looked back.
“We knew they were a zone team,” said Fitchburg head coach Titus Manderson, referring to the zone defense MCLA employed early in the game, “if we could move the ball, we knew we’d be good in a good position.”
Fitchburg went up 11-4 quickly in the bout, before trading buckets back and forth with MCLA. Falcons junior guard Andre Ruff hit back to back three-pointers to give Fitchburg a 19-7 lead halfway through the first half.
Fitchburg State shut down any offensive flow MCLA had with their stout defense. “We went big, started in zone with our big guys up top,” added Coach Manderson, “they had trouble scoring early in the game and we took advantage of that.”
“We stayed in our pack defense,” said Falcons junior guard Nicholas Tracy, referring to the team’s defensive plan. “Our goal offensively was to feed the big man, as they [MCLA] had smaller players.”
The Falcons plan worked to the tune of a 50-31 halftime lead. The second half featured more of the same, with Fitchburg getting on fast breaks and scoring points in the paint. “We wanted to push the ball,” said Falcons junior guard Tyrell St. John, “we knew we had the height advantage on them.”
Fitchburg State stretched their lead to 30 during the second half, ultimately winning the game by 21 points. With Fitchburg’s forwards dropping big numbers, it was a testament to their successful game plan of “feeding the big man.” Sophomore big man Charles Doss led the way for the Falcons with 17 points on 8-9 shooting.
Junior forward Jordan Jones notched a double-double, and Andre Ruff scored in double figures, with junior forward Devan Harris tacking on 11 points himself.