Junior guard Bryan Ortiz drained a deep three with 9.4 seconds remaining in overtime as the Salem State University men’s basketball team defeated the Framingham State University Rams 66-63 tTuesday night in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference action at the Athletic Recreation Center.
The loss drops the Rams to 7-10 overall and 2-3 in the conference.
The first half saw four ties and three lead changes before the Vikings took a two point lead into the locker room. The Rams used a three point play from junior Patrick Cuff of Medway and freshman guard Dan Gould’s second three of the half to open up a six point lead (27-21), the first half’s largest advantage, with 4:33 left in the frame. Salem State closed the half with a run of its own to erase the deficit. Three threes from junior Nicholas Grassa and Ortiz in the final minute gave the Vikings the slight edge at the break.
The second half mirrored the first with two teams trading the lead. The Vikings opened up a five point lead (56-51) on a jumper in the paint from Hamed Akanni with just under eight minutes remaining. The Rams chipped away at the lead pulling within two (60-58) on a Gould three with1:38 left in regulation. The Vikings missed four free throws down the stretch giving the Rams a chance to tie the game which they did on a pair of Ronnie DeBarros free throws with 20.5 remaining in the half. The Vikings had one final shot at the win in regulation, but Akanni’s shot in the paint missed as time expired.
The Vikings tallied the first three points in overtime, but the Rams answered with a three from sophomore guard Tim McCarthy midway through the extra session. Both teams had their chances to break the tie over the next two minutes, but neither team could score. The Rams turned the ball over with 41 seconds remaining in overtime setting the Vikings up for the game winning shot. After a pair of timeouts, the Vikings found Ortiz deep on the right wing and Ortiz hit nothing but net putting the Vikings up 66-63. The Rams had one final look, but McCarthy’s three rattled out.
The Rams were led by Cuff’s double double effort of 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Gould and DeBarros finished with 14 points apiece. Junior George Jordan and DeBarros had solid games on the glass for the Rams with eight rebounds each.
The Rams are idle until next Tuesday evening when they travel to Holy Cross to face Worcester State University 8:30 p.m.