With GNAC 2nd place clinched, Lions roll on

by Beacon Staff • February 14, 2007

The Emerson College men's basketball team put together an excellent all-around performance Tuesday night in a win against arch-rival Suffolk, 86-67.

The win gave Emerson a regular-season sweep over the visiting Rams, having previously been victorious on Jan.,This year, Emerson's men definitely hold bragging rights over their neighbors on Tremont Street.

The Emerson College men's basketball team put together an excellent all-around performance Tuesday night in a win against

arch-rival Suffolk, 86-67.

The win gave Emerson a regular-season sweep over the visiting Rams, having previously been victorious on Jan. 23 by a score of 77-72. With the victory, Emerson improved its record to 15-8 overall and 11-4 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.

The game was hotly contested all through to the finish, with Emerson pulling away late. Leading the way for the Lions was senior guard Alfredo Tovar, who turned in a sparkling performance with 24 points and 6 assists.

Tovar also managed to play tremendous defense against Suffolk's John Murphy, the GNAC's leading scorer at 24.3 points per game, holding him to just 19 in the contest. Tovar credited his current surge to his previous experience in late-season play.

"Experience in other years tells me it's time to step up for us to have a good chance of winning," he said.

Head coach Hank Smith cited Tovar's outstanding play as the key to the victory.

"He made Murphy work for every aspect, every point, every inch of the floor," Smith said. "His defense was the key to the game. He's been terrific this whole second half."

Another major contributor to the victory was senior forward Scott McGowan, who overcame illness to play a major part in the win with his 10 points. Incredibly, McGowan had spent the past day in the emergency room.

"I had been sick, dehydrated," McGowan said. "I was cleared to play just before the game. But we needed it. All season long, people have been stepping up, and it was my turn."

The game began slowly for the Lions, who trailed the Rams for much of the first half.

The team was shorthanded, with starting center and leading scorer Bryan Rouse missing his fourth consecutive game with illness.

"It affects our offense. He's a great force," said Tovar. "He draws so much attention and gets the rest of us good shots. We adjusted, and realized we needed more response on the court."

Trailing 24-25 late in the half, however, the Lions erupted for a 10-0 run, highlighted by two three-point buckets from Tovar, making the score 34-25 with just over three minutes to play.

The teams traded baskets the rest of the way, with Will Dawkins' two free throws right before halftime pushing the score at the break to 40-30, Lions.

The team started the second half cold again before going on a quick 7-0 run to bring the score to 47-34.

The push forced Suffolk into a full-court pressure that proved problematic at first for the Lions.

They committed two turnovers under their own basket that led to Suffolk layups and brought the Emerson lead down to 4 at 52-48.

Eventually, though, a combination of Emerson improving its decisions and Suffolk growing tired proved too much for the Rams.

"Once we got out [from under the basket], we were fine," said Smith. "It's hard [to pressure us] when you give our guards room. Alfredo and Jeremy (Shannon) make great decision."

The lead was quickly back to double digits for the Lions and remained that way for the remainder of the contest. Emerson free throws put the game away late, bringing about the final tally.

Other notable performers for Emerson were Dawkins, who finished with 13 points and nine rebounds; junior guard Joe Boylan,; with 15 points; and Shannon, who scored 13. Suffolk was led by Murphy and Alan Jaziri, who scored 19 points apiece.