Men's Basketball Drops 61-59 Heartbreaker to Trinity in UMD Basketball Classic Finale

Freshman Alex Rodrigues
Freshman Alex Rodrigues

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The UMass Dartmouth men's basketball team dropped 61-59 heartbreaker to visiting Trinity College in the consolation game of the 2012 UMass Dartmouth Basketball Classic, presented by the Hampton Inn at the Tripp Athletic Center Saturday evening.

The Corsairs dropped their second straight contest despite a career game from sophomore guard Mike Rotando (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ/PPB HS) who scored a tournament high 35 points, while knocking down 12-14 free throw attempts. Rotando also knocked down five treys on the evening and was the only member of the Corsairs to score in double figures. Sophomore guard Jake Laga (Northampton, MA/Northampton HS) added seven points on 3-7 shooting for UMD.

UMass Dartmouth came out of the gates slowly for the second straight contest as the Bantams raced out to an early lead, but UMD battled back to take a 17-15 lead with 7:44 remaining in the opening half when freshman guard Jacek Louisville (Worcester, MA/Holy Name HS) knocked down a jumper. The Corsairs would hold the lead for the remainder of the first half stretching it to as many as 10 when Rotando knocked down a trey with 4:33 left in the half before taking a 36-28 lead into the break.

The Corsairs started the second half hot as they stretched their lead to as many as 11 when Rotando knocked down a three with 15:04 remaining, but from there the Bantams would battle back eventually taking a two point lead at 57-55 with 3:34 left when sophomore forward Jamil Ebo (Bloomfield, CT/Kingswood-Oxford) made a layup. UMD then tied the game for the fifth time at 57-57 on a jumper from sophomore center Alex Rodrigues (Fall River, MA/Durfee HS) with three minutes left.

The next lead Trinity had was when senior guard Mick DiStasio (Yarmouth, ME/Cheverus HS) made a layup with just seven ticks remaining. UMD raced down court and Rotando attempted a three pointer from half court but it fell short as the Bantams escaped with the victory.

Offensively, Trinity was led by freshman forward Mark Richards (Orangeburg, NY/Bergen Catholic HS) who scored 15 points off the bench, while Ebo and Mikel Simpson (Woburn, MA/Woburn) each added 10 points.

"We had hoped to sustain the lead but a couple of miscues led to easy fast breaks and we sent them to the free throw line too many times down the stretch," UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste said. "Our offense got stagnant and that is a sign of inexperience. Our guys gave a great effort and I appreciate that."

UMass Dartmouth fell to 0-2 with the defeat, while Trinity improved to 1-1 with the victory. UMass/Dartmouth returns to action on Tuesday, November 20, when they travel to Brandeis.

Wheaton College was the champion of the 2012 UMass Dartmouth Basketball Classic as they defeated Worcester State, 78-66. The All-Tournament team included Wheaton College's Ryan Clinesmith (New York, NY/The Hill School) as MVP, as well as Mike O'Loughlin (Milford, NH/Milford HS) of Wheaton, Dane Jobst (Athol, MA/Mahar HS) and Alex Lopez (Springfield, MA/Commerce HS) of WSU, Mick DiStasio (Yarmouth, ME/Cheverus HS) of Trinity and Mike Rotando (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ/PPB HS/Bloomfield) of UMass Dartmouth.