WORCESTER, Mass. – The Clark University men's basketball team fell in a closely-contested non-conference affair at the fifth annual Midnight Mayhem season opener as Worcester State University came from behind to nab a 78-70 decision at the Kneller Athletic Center on Friday morning.
Score: Lancers 78, Cougars 70
Records: Clark University (0-1) | Worcester State University (1-0)
How it Happened
Junior guard Biko Gayman (Fort Pierce, Fla.) poured in a game-high 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field to lead the Cougars in the setback. Junior Tyler Davern (Webster, Mass.) tied the game-high with nine rebounds while Joel Arteaga (Wyncote, Pa.) corralled six boards to go with nine points. For the Lancers, Cal Howes' 17 points led a quartet of starters in double-figures while Chris Cardoso and Erik Bjorn pulled down nine rebounds apiece.
The Cougars found a rhythm early as a three-pointer by Davern sparked an 11-2 run over two minutes. The host drained three triples during the stretch with long balls from Sean Christy (Cumberland, R.I.) and Arteaga helping the team take a 14-6 lead. Clark University went onto take a 33-29 lead into the halftime break as Gayman paced the offense during the opening half, scoring 12 of his game-high points total during the span while recording a pair of assists.
Worcester State came on strong in the second half as Tyler Dion scored five unanswered points at the start of the session to swing a 34-33 lead to the visitors. The Lancers wouldn't look back, maintaining a slight advantage over the Cougars through the remainder of the half. Clark cut the deficit, 52-51, following a layup from Gayman with 9:17 left to play, but Worcester State quickly re-extended the lead with a 6-0 scoring spurt.
Clark University battled until the end but was never able to recapture the lead. With 3:31 remaining, the Lancers grabbed their largest lead of the contest as a pair of free throws from Bjorn made it 67-54 on the scoreboard. The Cougars went onto outscore the opponent 16-12 during the leftover time with Gayman contributing 12 points during that time before the buzzer sounded on the 78-70 final score.
The Cougars held on to a 43-41 advantage on the boards while getting edged on points inside the paint by a 34-28 clip. The host received 26 points from its bench with Matthew Waggett (Saugus, Mass.) and Anthony Grzembski (Webster, Mass.) tallying nine and six respectively.
The Cougars return to the hardwood on November 13 when they travel to Fitchburg State for a non-conference clash against the Falcons with tip-off scheduled for 6:00 pm.