Thursday, January 12, 2012 (Newton, Massachusetts) - Trailing 37-30 at halftime, the Mount Ida College men's basketball team mounted a 19-3 run to open up the second half to solidify a 72-63 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) victory over visiting Anna Maria College Thursday evening welcoming their first league win of the season. The Mustangs were in control for the bulk of the contest converting their best outing offensively to date shooting 40 percent from downtown going 8-20 for the night along with 46 percent from the floor.
The hosts improve to an overall record of 4-7 capturing their first GNAC bid with a league standing of 1-3. The visitors drop their second conference loss of the season falling to 5-7 for the year and 4-2 in GNAC action.
Mount Ida saw a handful of impressive individual performances including a game-high 27 points from senior captain Isiah Benjamin (Windsor, CT/The Masters School) for his best act of the year. Benjamin was hot from outside all night knocking down seven trifecta's on 7-14 shooting beyond the arc going 9-22 from the floor. Benjamin came within three shots from downtown to break the all-time game record for trifecta's made in a contest held by 07' graduate Michael Dunham who made nine.
Senior forward and captain Travis Hillery (Tyngsboro, MA/Central Catholic) was unstoppable all night tallying 22 points and 12 rebounds good for the only double-double on the evening. Junior center Jeffrey McNair (Brockton, MA/Brockton) was also solid dominating down low with 10 caroms, seven points, and two blocks including a backboard breaking stuff on a lay-in late at a key spot in the action. Senior captain Joe Cabral (Walpole, MA/Walpole) added 10 points and five rebounds respectively while transfer guard Brett Heimann (Miami, FL/LaSalle HS/Lasell College) dished out eight assists.
The visiting AmCats saw three players in double figures led by senior forward Brad Peterson (North Kingstown, RI/North Kingstown) notching 17 points and eight boards. Junior guard Anthony Click (Springfield, MA/Sabis) added 16 points along with nine caroms nearly eclipsing a double-double while junior Javier Bristol (Haverhill, MA/Haverhill) chipped in 10 points.
Through the first five minutes of the contest (14:19) Anna Maria held a small six point advantage up 11-5 following a successful lay-in by Peterson.
The score would stalemate at 16-16 after Benjamin's second triple on the night with 10:50 to go before the midway point.
The action went back-and-forth for the next couple of minutes with no more than a basket separating the score. Anna Maria squeaked ahead by a small five point (31-26) margin at the 3:44 mark following two successful charity stripe attempts by freshman Michael Gorman (Methuen, MA/Methuen).
The AmCats eventually closed out the second stanza leading by a half-high seven points (37-30).
For the bulk of the second half it was all Mount Ida who pulled ahead by 10 points (49-39) with 12:27 to go in the contest capping their 19-3 run finished off on a Hillery trifecta from the corner.
An 8-0 run by the AmCats ensued cutting the Mustang advantage down to a deuce (49-47) following two successful free throw attempts by Peterson with nine minutes left in the final frame.
After exchanging baskets for the next few ticks, Mount Ida powered through a 10-1 run inflating their lead to a game-high 12 points (67-55) with 2:21 remaining in the half finalized on an impressive up-and-in by Cabral around two defenders in the paint.
The Mustangs would hold the AmCats at arms length for the remainder winning the foul game for the final minutes converting their free throws to capture the 72-63 GNAC victory good for their first of the year.
Mount Ida men's basketball will host conference foe Rivier College Saturday afternoon with game time slated for 3:00 p.m. The visitors will travel to Emmanuel College Monday evening in Boston, Massachusetts for a league bid starting at 3:00 p.m.