ISIAH BENJAMIN ECLIPSES 1000 POINTS, MUSTANGS FALL
Saturday, February 4, 2012 (Newton, Massachusetts) - Mount Ida College men's basketball senior guard Isiah Benjamin (Windsor, CT/The Masters School) became the ninth player in the history of the program to eclipse the 1,000 point career threshold Saturday afternoon in an 83-75 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) overtime loss to hosting Lasell College.
The Lasers picked up the victory 83-75 in overtime to improve to 10-11 overall 9-5 in the GNAC. Mount Ida fell to 7-13 on the year, and 4-9 in conference play.
Benjamin led the Mustangs with 27 points going 4-8 from downtown and 8-22 from the floor on the night. Senior forward Travis Hillery (Tyngsboro, MA/Central Catholic) continues to play well notching another double-double adding 18 points and 14 boards going 7-13 from inside the arc. Junior center Jeffrey McNair (Brockton, MA/Brockton) was again solid notching 17 points and five caroms.
Lasell had the ball with just under a minute on the clock, and a chance to break the 64-64 tie; however Javon Williams (Mattapan, MA) was called for a charge with 18 seconds to play and his driving layup was waved off. The Mustangs put the ball in the hands of Benjamin, who saw his pull-up jumper bounce off the rim as time expired.
Sean Bertanza scored a game high 29 points to lead Lasell, while Williams added 22 points. The duo was joined in double figures by Frank Apisa (Branchburgh, NJ) with 12 points and Arthur Alexander (Port St. Lucie, FL) with 11 points.
In the first minute of overtime, Mount Ida built a four point lead at 68-64; however a pair of Arthur Alexander free throws pulled the Lasers within two. With 3:18 remaining in the extra period a Williams's layup tied the game at 68 apiece. Alexander gave the Lasers a one point lead on a free throw with two minutes remaining in overtime, 71-70. An Alexander steal and layup put the Lasers up by three with 1:15 remaining. Mount Ida responded with a Benjamin layup cutting the Lasers lead to 73-72, but Bertanza found a cutting Apisa to put the Lasers back up three with 50 seconds remaining. Alexander then came up with another big steal, and found Apisa running the floor to give the hosts a five point advantage with 30 seconds left. Lasell was able to close the game out at the free throw line, to pull out the 83-75 GNAC win.
The cross town rivals exchanged baskets throughout the first ten minutes with Lasell holding a small advantage most of the initial minutes. Mount Ida took the lead right before the ten minute mark after a Benjamin trey. At 8:50 Arthur Alexander layup on a fast break tied the game at 18 apiece. As the clock ran down to halftime, the score remained close, with Lasell leading by only one, 26-25.
The first half was even on both ends of the court. Lasell and Mt. Ida both shot 33.3 percent from the field. The top scoring player in the first half was Javon Williams, putting up nine points for the home team. McNair contributed eight points for the visitors to be their leading first half scorer. Mount Ida had eleven turnovers in the first half while Lasell only had four.
Both teams came out of halftime strong, keeping the score within three early in the half. At the 11:20 mark the Lasers regained the lead at 43-42 after an Alexander layup as the shot clock ran down. With 7:50 remaining the visiting Mustangs took back the lead on a Hillery jumper from just outside the paint.
At the 6:43 mark, Bertanza drilled a three pointer to cut the Mustangs' four point lead to only one at 49-48. After a Keith Jones (Boston, MA/Lake Brantley (FL)/Mass. Bay C.C.) free throw, Williams hit a layup that would tie up the game at 50 apiece. Two Williams free throws later, Lasell had taken a 52-50 lead. Benjamin answered with a trey that gave the visitors a one point advantage at 53-52 and a Bertanza layup put the Lasers back on top 54-53, setting up the frantic finish.