Framingham, Mass. – Junior Manny Payton (Fitchburg, Mass.) led a trio of Rams in double figures with 25 points as the Framingham State University men's basketball team held off a second half comeback by Clark University for a 72-68 victory this afternoon in non-conference action at the Athletic Center.
With the win, the Rams improve to 2-5 on the young season, while with the loss the Cougars are now an identical 2-5.
Payton led all scorers with his game-high 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor to go along with seven rebounds and two assists. Sophomore Tyri Hampton (Fitchburg, Mass.) added 18 points, nine rebounds and two assists, while classmate Charles Valbrun (Hyde Park, Mass.) recorded a double double of 14 points and a game-high 11 boards. Senior Ben Roache (Dighton, Mass.) chipped in with seven points, while sophomore Steve Vayda (Oxford, Mass.) added six off the bench.
The Cougars were led by a team-high 23 points from junior Luca McCormick. McCormick connected on 7-of-17 from the field and added five rebounds. Freshman Tyler Davern (Webster, Mass.) and classmate Biko Gayman added 14 points apiece, while junior Adam Converse grabbed a team-high seven boards.
The first half went back and forth and saw three ties and four lead changes. The Rams jumped out to an early 9-4 lead on a three from Hampton, but the Cougars tied the game at 10-10 on a three pointer from John Piscareta (Andover, Mass.). Clark led 21-19 on a layup by Davern with just over eight minutes remaining, but the Rams closed the half with a 16-8 run started by a bucket in the pain on the break from Payton to take a 35-29 lead at the half.
The Rams opened the second half with 16-4 run taking a 51-33 lead with 14:30 left in the second quarter. Payton scored four times on the spurt including a dunk in transition, while Vayda capped the spurt with a three from the corner.
The Cougars responded with a 24-5 run of their own over the next eight minutes to take the lead, 57-56, with 6:41 on the clock. McCormick tallied 11 points on the spurt, while Gayman added 10 including the go ahead jumper.
The Rams tied the game on a free throw from Roache and then tallied the next four points on a layup from Valburn and a Hampton jumper to take the lead for the good.
Clark cut the lead to one with 2:34 remaining on a three by Davern, but Hampton sank a pair of freebies to push the lead back to three and Payton added a pair pushing the advantage to five with under a minute remaining.
The Rams are back in action on Tuesday night when they host Plymouth State in non-conference action at 6 p.m., while the Cougars are also in action Tuesday night at Fitchburg State at 7 p.m.