NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The UMass Dartmouth men's basketball team dropped their season opener 65-61 to visiting Wheaton in the second game of the 2012 UMass Dartmouth Basketball Classic, presented by the Hampton Inn at the Tripp Athletic Center Friday evening.
The Corsairs dropped their season opener for the second straight season, despite five players scoring at least seven points. Offensively, UMD was led by junior guard John Genkos (Worcester, MA/Doherty HS) who scored a game-high 23 points on 7-14 shooting. Sophomore center Alex Rodrigues (Fall River, MA/Durfee HS) was the only other Corsair in double figures registering a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lyons raced out to an early double digit lead as the Corsairs struggled shooting from the field ending the first half shooting 23% percent from the field and just 2-15 from beyond the arc.
Wheaton took a 30-20 lead into halftime, but the Corsairs opened the second half on an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to just four. Wheaton battled back to gain a double digit lead late in the half, but once again the Corsairs clawed their way back into the contest cutting the lead to just two when Genkos hit a three with under a minute remaining.
After both teams traded free throws the Corsairs had a chance to tie take the lead when sophomore guard Mike Rotando (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ/PPB HS) stole the inbounds pass and tipped it to Genkos who rimmed out a three with less than 20 seconds left to play.
From there the Lyons did their job and knocked down free throws as they escaped the Tripp Athletic Center with a season opening victory.
"We are a new group that has to get used to game conditions," UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste said. "The first half was disappointing, but the second half we played with more heart and desire. The effort was good. Hopefully we can have a good game tomorrow and shoot the ball better."
Offensively, the Lyons had three players in double figures led by sophomore forward Ryan Clinesmith (New York, NY/The Hill School) and senior forward Phil Gensicki (New Haven, CT/Notre Dame Prep) who each added 12 points, while sophomore guard Jaycob Morales (Lawrence, MA/Central Catholic) added 10 points off the bench.
UMass Dartmouth fell to 0-1 with the defeat, while Wheaton improved to 1-0 with the victory. UMass/Dartmouth advanced to play Trinity in Saturday's third place game. Wheaton will play Worcester State in Saturday's championship game.