Clark Bests Worcester State in Second Annual Midnight Game
November 19, 2016
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Clark Men’s Basketball beat the Worcester State University Lancers 77-74 season opener. Monday night played at WSU’s new John P. Brissette Gymnasium. The floors were gleaming (Clark slipped several times) and the audience of 1,600 was packed with blue shirts (one Trump mask) and a boisterous section of bussed-in Clarkies wearing all black. WSU had a band and dancers, but Clark had Luca McCormick (’19).
Before the game, a moment of silence was held in honor of Clark Men’s Basketball team captain and assistant coach Pat Oroszko (’03) who passed away earlier this year after battling cancer.
Tip-off was at 12:01 AM and Clark dominated the first half 52-36. Clark scored first with a three-pointer by McCormick and the assist from John Pisacreta (’18). The two were the high scorers for the game with a combined 41 game points between them. Clark co-captain Lamar Berk (‘17) contributed 11 points in the first half.
The second half began shortly before 1 a.m. and WSU outplayed, outscored 38-25, out-rebounded, and out-free-threw Clark. Clark racked up fouls while WSU hardly missed a free throw, shooting 88 percent as a team. Clark’s Pisacreta hit the floor hard and had to sit down and receive medical attention. McCormick was victim to a grab-and-roll wrestling move by WSU’s Shaun McCarthy, which was deemed a technical foul.
With a couple seconds left to the game, WSU’s Mustapha hit a free throw to tie the game at 74-74. McCormick said Coach Phillips told the team at the time out, “Keep your noses down deep and keep running offense.” Then the midnight magic happened.
With 1.7 seconds to make a play, Pisacreta dribbled the ball down court with WSU defenders all over him, banked right, and passed the ball to McCormick, who was waiting at the top of the key. He sank the winning three-pointer like it was a Saturday afternoon pick-up game at the park. The Clark fan section went ballistic. Clark wins 77-74.
After the game, McCormick described the moment, “ … Like when I was a little kid and I dreamed of something like this … I can’t compare it to anything.”
Pisacreta, who lead the team with six assists, said when things turned bad, “We were really trying. [We had to] bend, not break.” He said he felt okay after slipping and falling. Of the win, he felt, “Good … excited,” as fans surrounded him with congratulations.
Coach made a visit to the Clarkie fan bus: “This was a lot of fun. We represent all of you. Thank you very much.”