SALEM, Mass. – With a barrage of 18 three-pointers, including six in the second half by sophomore Zackary Mittelstadt (Wilton, Maine), the Clark University men's basketball stormed to a 97-87 non-conference victory against the host Vikings at the Salem State Holiday Classic on Sunday evening.
Score: Cougars 97, Vikings 87
Records: Clark University (5-5) | Salem State (1-10)
How it Happened
The Cougars improved to .500 with one of their best offensive showings of the season as an 18-for-41 display from beyond the arc led to the highest point total through ten games. Clark was boosted by Mittelstadt who knocked down six threes in the second half to help the team overcome a five-point deficit, finishing the game 7-for-10 from deep for a career-high 22 points.
Junior Tyler Davern (Webster, Mass.) chipped in with 18 points, seven rebounds, and three assists while making the most of his chances at the charity stripe with an 8-for-9 performance. Classmate Biko Gayman (Fort Pierce, Fla.) registered 15 points and seven assists with an 8-for-9 effort at the free-throw line as well.
Charles Stevens (Bronx, N.Y.) rounded out the double-figure scorers for the Cougars with the junior scoring 14 points, 12 of which coming in an offensive outburst during the first-half. The Cougars received scoring contributions from all five starters and eight in total during the victory.
Clark came out firing from distance as back-to-back three-pointers from Stevens and a triple by Antonio Lapeyrolerie (Plano, Texas) gave the team an early 9-6 advantage. With 16:64 to go in the opening half a layup from Davern sparked an 8-2 run, with the spurt seeing Stevens knock down two more shots from beyond the arc to push the Cougars lead up to 17-10.
Salem State shrunk the gap later following free throws from Hakeem Animashaun making it a 19-18 deficit before a layup by Jaden Castillo gave the Vikings possession of a one-point lead.
With just under ten minutes left in the half, Clark jumped back in front as the first triple of the day from Mittelstadt led to seven unanswered for a 26-20 Cougars' lead. The Cougars converted on four more three-pointers in the remaining 8:36 of the half, including two by Davern inside the final minute of the period to bring a 46-42 lead into the break.
Following the intermission, Salem State fought back as back-to-back three-pointers and a layup from Animashaun tied it up at 50-50 with 17:54 left to play. The Vikings extended the margin to five points as Animashaun, who finished with a game-high 41 points, took control with six straight for the host.
With 14:33 remaining in regulation, Mittelstadt and would instantly make an impact as the sophomore connected on three straight from three-point range to fuel a 9-5 run and shrink the gap to 63-62. Moments later, a layup from Anthony Grzembski (Webster, Mass.) knotted the game at 64-64 before Mittelstadt continued the unanswered streak, drilling two more three-pointers to give the Cougars a 70-64 advantage.
Clark went on to control a 27-23 scoring clip over the final 9:03 on the clock with Gayman and Davern finishing the stretch with a 12-for-12 effort from the charity stripe and a combined 14 points to help seal the victory.
The Cougars tied a season-high of 18 assists while knocking down a season-most 18-for-41 shots from beyond the arc (43.9%). Clark was bolstered by its bench with the team maintaining a 32-2 lead on the Vikings throughout.
The Cougars will match up with Endicott on Monday during the final day of the Salem State Holiday Classic with tip-off scheduled for 4:00 pm.