PAXTON, Mass. – After a low-scoring first half, both teams came out of halftime trading baskets, but Anna Maria College was able to keep scoring on its way to an 80-66 victory over Regis College Tuesday night in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference men's basketball game at the Fuller Center.
Ademola Afonja (Staten Island, N.Y.) scored 16 of his team-high 18 points in the second half, hitting 8-of-11 field goal attempts after halftime. In addition, he pulled down five rebounds, including the 651st rebound of his collegiate career to become Regis's all-time leader in rebounds, and blocked three shots to increase his school record total of career blocked shots to 95 rejections.
It took two minutes before the first points of the game were scored, as Anna Maria took an early 4-0 lead. Three straight points by Marc Trinidad (Bronx, N.Y.) helped the Pride pull ahead, 5-4, but the AMCATs answered with an 11-2 scoring run, punctuated by two three-pointers by Ralph Grasso Jr., to retake the lead at 15-7 midway through the first half.
Down 19-9 after a jumper by Anthony Buckley, Regis fought back, putting together a 12-5 scoring run over the final seven minutes of the first half, starting with consecutive jumpers by Shawn Wedderburn (Bronx, N.Y.), to close to within three at 24-21 heading into halftime.
A jumper by Afonja and two free throws from Milik Wallace (Hinesville, Ga.) at the start of the second half put the Pride on top, 25-24, before the two squads traded the lead by alternating baskets over the next three minutes. With the score tied at 35-35, Anna Maria took control with an 11-2 scoring run, starting with a three-pointer by Buckley and highlighted by eight straight AMCAT points from Bobby Perette.
Anna Maria (7-15, 3-5 GNAC) extended its lead to 15 at 63-48 with eight unanswered points, featuring consecutive traditional three-point plays from Mike Rapoza and Grasso. The Pride attempted one final rally with an 8-2 scoring run, but Perette hit a three-pointer to increase the AMCAT lead back into double digits, where it remained the rest of the way.
Juvens Dalger (Oakland Park, Fla.) shot 6-of-10 from the field as he notched his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds, plus he earned three steals. Trinidad finished with 11 points and six rebounds as the Pride shot 40.9 percent (27-of-66) from the field and 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from the free throw line.
Perette shot 9-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-5 from behind the three-point line, as he led Anna Maria with 24 points, while Grasso finished with 18 points and Rapoza also notched a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds to go along with five blocked shots. The AMCATs shot 45.5 percent (25-of-55) from the field, including 8-of-13 from behind the three-point line, and 68.8 percent (22-of-32) from the free throw line, plus Anna Maria won the rebounding battle, 43-32.
Regis (9-14, 4-5 GNAC) is off until next Tuesday, Feb. 12, when the Pride host Saint Joseph's College in the last home game of the regular season, starting at 6 p.m. at Higgins Court.