-Score: Clark 92, Worcester State 89
-Records: Clark (1-0), Worcester State (0-1)
-Location: Worcester, Mass. Kneller Athletic Center
-The Lead: In one of the first NCAA Division III men's basketball games across the country, the Clark University men's basketball team defeated the Lancers of neighboring Worcester State University, 92-89, under a full-house at the Kneller Athletic Center for the Midnight Mayhem event Wednesday morning. Prior to the start of the game Clark University revealed a new Cougar Mascot named Jonas.
The Worcester State crowd rumbled as the Lancers were the first team to score 47 seconds into the game on an Erik Bjorn (Holden, Mass.) jumper. Clark battled back and senior guard John Pisacreta (Andover, Mass.) swished a triple to send the Cougars ahead 3-2. On the next play, Worcester State took back the lead when Chris Cardoso (Jamaica Plains, Mass.) drained a three. Clark quickly knotted the game at 5-5 on a layup from first year Biko Gayman (Fort Pierce, Fla.), and jolted ahead as Gayman scored two more times to up the Cougars' lead to four. The Cougars held a slim lead for the next couple minutes until Worcester State's Will Watkins Jr. (Southbridge, Mass.) made a triple with 15:57 remaining in the stanza to knot the score at 12-12. Worcester State took its second lead of the night on a good free throw from Cardoso until Clark took it back on a shot from freshman Anthony Grzembski (Webster, Mass.). The Cougars held a slender lead until 3:57 remaining in the half when Worcester's Manny Green (Boston, Mass.) converted an and-one to tie the score at 37-37. The teams traded points in the remaining three minutes, and Worcester State ended up ahead 47-46 at the half succeeding a Green layup.
Following a jumper from Worcester State's Watkins to start the second half, the Cougars went on a 10-0 run to put the score in their favor, 56-49. The Cougars saw their largest lead of the night (10) with 11:50 remaining in the game after Kyle Coughlin (Beverly, Mass.) drained a three. Worcester State slowly chipped away at the Clark lead and got within four minutes later on a three-pointer from Cal Howes (Maynard, Mass.). The Cougars pushed away once again until the game came down to the last minute. Following fouls to stop the clock, Worcester State's Cardoso came through with a layup and Howes nailed a triple to bring the game within two with 18 seconds to go. A pair of free throws from Grzembski put the Cougars ahead by four once again, until Cardoso got the Lancers within one with seven seconds to go after making a three-pointer. Worcester State was once again forced to foul, resulting in a pair of free throws for Gayman to seal the Cougar win of 92-89.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
-Clark's offense was steered by Gayman who notched a game-high 26 points, going 10-for-13 from the field, and also logged a game-high nine assists and four steals.
-The Cougars' Adam Converse (Woodstock, Conn.), Luca McCormack (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), and Tyler Davern (Webster, Mass.) each registered 14 points apiece. Grzembski came off the bench and gave the cougars 13 points.
-Worcester State was led by Cardoso who totaled 22 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.
-Worcester State's five starters each scored double-digits. Howes logged 14 points, Bjorn tallied 12, while Shaun McCarthy (Oxford, Mass.) and Watkins each had 10.
-Watkins led the Lancers with eight rebounds.
-The Lancers outrebounded the Cougars 46-26.
-Clark forced 21 Lancer turnovers, as Worcester State stole 17 Cougar balls.
-26% of the Cougar points were scored off Worcester State turnovers.
-Clark outshot the Lancers from the field, going 33-for-61 (54.1%), while Worcester shot 47.8% (22-69). Worcester State logged a 44.4% three-point percentage, while each team shot around 65% from the free throw line.
-The game saw six ties and 11 lead changes.
-The Cougars are 3-0 in Midnight Mayhem games. Last year, Clark edged Worcester State on their home court 77-74 as McCormick drained a triple with three seconds remaining in regulation. The Cougars defeated Worcester State 83-78 in its inaugural Midnight Mayhem event.
The Cougars travel to New York, New York for the NYU tournament this weekend. They start the weekend with a game versus Haverford on Saturday the 18th at 9:30 PM.This Friday and Saturday (Nov. 18-19), the Worcester State men's basketball team travels to Babson Park, Mass. for the Babson Invitational, before hosting WPI in the Lancers' season opener on Tuesday (Nov. 21).