Clark Defeats Salem State 97-87 Despite Animashaun's 41 Points

Clark Defeats Salem State 97-87 Despite Animashaun's 41 Points

SALEM, Mass. – Salem State's Hakeem Animashaun (Dedham, Mass.) scored 41 points and added a career-high 20 rebounds, but reserve Zackary Mittelstadt (Wilton, Maine) connected for 22 points, including 19 in the second half to lead four players in double figures as Clark defeated Salem State 97-87 in the second game of the Salem State Holiday Classic on Sunday. The Cougars even their record at 5-5 while the Vikings slide to 1-10.

Clark raced out to an early 17-10 lead following a three-pointer by Charles Stevens (Bronx, N.Y.). Animashaun, who had 18 first half points and 11 rebounds kept Salem State within striking distance, doing most of his damage from the post as he went 6-for-9 (66.7%) from field. Animashaun's two free throws pulled the Vikings to within 19-18 at the 12:32 mark.

However, Charles, who was a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc, kept the Cougars in front and after a tip-in by Antonio Lapeyrolerie (Plano, Teaxas), Clark had its largest lead of the half, 36-26 with 6:03 remaining. Salem State cut the margin to just two points, 40-38 following two free throws by Animashuan, but the Cougars pushed the lead back to seven following a three-pointer by Tyler Davern (Webster, Mass.). A late three by Salem State's Jaden Castillo (Lawrence, Mass.) trimmed the halftime deficit to four points, 46-42. Castillo had 12 first half points for the Vikings, who shot 15-29 (51.7%) from the field. Stevens led Clark with 12 points while Davern finished the half with 10 points. The Cougars converted 10-21 (47.6%) three-pointers to build their halftime lead.  

The Vikings erased a four-point halftime deficit and following a layup by Animashuan, tied the game 50-50 early in the second half. Animashaun extended the lead to five following two made free throws. However, Clark responded with a 24-7 run as Mittelstadt connected for four-three-pointers during the stretch. The Vikings could only get as close as eight the rest of the way, as the Cougars converted 19-27 second half free throws led by Biko Gayman's (Fort Pierce, Fla.) 8-9 effort from the line to ice a 97-87 victory.

Davern finished with 18 points and seven rebounds for Clark while Gayman added 15 points and seven assists. Stevens was the fourth member of the Cougars in double-digits with 14 points. Clark shot 29-66 (43.9%) from the field, including 18-41 (43.9%) from three-point range. The Cougars attempted 30 free throws, converting 21 (70.0%).

Animashaun topped 40 points for the second time in his career, going 13-18 (72.2%) from the floor and 15-19 (79.0%) from the free throw line with four blocks. Animashaun has six double-doubles this season, which is in the top-ten in the nation. Castillo poured in a career-best 24 points and six assists while Alex De La Rosa (Boston, Mass.) contributed 18 points for Salem State.

Endicott defeated Williams 88-85 in the opening game of the day.