By Tyler Wahl
The Rams Men’s Basketball team pulled out a much-needed 68-60 win Jan. 31 when they traveled to Fitchburg to face off against the Falcons.
This game was a must win for both teams – as neither team’s record is proving worthy of a MASCAC playoff run. The winner of the conference battle will end up in a much better position come postseason.
Framingham State started the game oJ strong by drawing fouls and applying pressure down low. They led the game 9-3 five minutes into the first half thanks to a hot start from sophomore forward Joshua-Daniel Okafor.
Okafor played a large scoring role throughout the game and also pitched in with seven rebounds to help slow the pace of the game.
Despite the Rams pulling out to an early lead, Fitchburg State was able to keep the game close throughout the first half.
The Rams were able to keep up with Fitchburg’s pace due to their great defense and limitation of turnovers on offense.
Framingham State finished the half with a total of seven steals and only turned the ball over twice throughout the first 20 minutes of the match.
Guard Brett Okundaye also helped the Rams stay consistent on offense, contributing seven points in the half and two rebounds as well.
The buzzer sounded to end the first half with the Falcons leading 30-27. Although the Rams went into the locker room down on the scoreboard, it was clear that FSU had a game plan for Fitchburg’s offense and defense.
It was a hard fought contest through the first 10 minutes of the second half. Both teams were
converting on hard fought layups and clean jumpers.
The Rams were given a huge confidence boost by Okafor once again throughout the second half. With nine minutes left in the quarter, Okafor was able to slam it in for two – giving the Rams momentum to close oJ the game.
With just under seven minutes to play, the Rams were holding strong on defense and taking good care of the ball on offense.
Despite valiant effort from the Falcons to bring it back, a layup scored by Okafor at the two-minute mark and a three from sophomore guard Ivan Nyantenji put the game out of reach.
The Rams won the conference battle against Fitchburg State 68-60. Although both Fitchburg and FSU are having their struggles this season, this game was an incredible display of team basketball on both sides.
The game’s top scorer, JD Okafor, praised his teammates after the game despite his monstrous night on the stat sheet.
“This was our first game having our full team together again and we executed well tonight,” said Okafor.
The team has struggled staying healthy whether it be due to illness or injury, but a full roster
undoubtedly helped the Rams in this win.
Okafor also added, “I was glad my teammates were looking for me, so I could help out a lot with the win.”
The ball movement from the Rams offense helped open up scoring opportunities for Okafor throughout the game.
The Rams unfortunately fell in their most recent match vs. Westfield State Feb. 2, 77-49. The men’s basketball team looks to capitalize in their remaining games starting with Fitchburg once again Saturday afternoon Feb. 5.