PLYMOUTH, NH-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's basketball team dropped another close contest as they fell 69-67 to host Plymouth State, in the second half of a Little East Conference doubleheader at Foley Gymnasium Saturday.
The single digit loss for the Corsairs is their fifth of the season, and it was their third loss this season by a single possession.
The Panthers led for most of the first half until sophomore guard Mike Rotando (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ/Point Pleasant Beach HS) knocked down a trey with 1:37 remaining to make the score 31-29. The Corsairs ended up taking a 34-31 lead heading into the break.
In the beginning of the second half the two teams traded baskets, but the Corsairs were able to stretch their lead to seven with 12:30 left in the contest as Rotando knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 51-44. The seven point lead was the largest of the game for the Corsairs.
The Panthers responded with an 8-0 run capped by a pair of free throws by Alex Burt to make the score 64-59 with 3:50 remaining. With the 30 seconds left in regulation Rotando knocked down a trey to make cut the Panthers lead to just one at 68-67. On the ensuing possession, the Corsairs forced a turnover, but they were unable to capitalize on their final possession as junior forward Eleazar Clayton (Boston, MA/East Boston HS/Fitchburg HS) missed a layup.
Offensively, the Corsairs were led by Rotando who scored 23 points on 7-16 shooting, while knocking down four treys.
Junior guard John Genkos (Worcester, MA/Doherty HS) and sophomore center Alex Rodrigues (Fall River, MA/Durfee HS) each scored 16 for UMass Dartmouth. Burt led the Panthers with 33 points, while Kevin Eisenberg added 20.
UMD made 42 per cent of their shots, but PSU shot 48.9 per cent from the field.
"It was a disappointing loss," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "They made some threes, they made their free throws, and they made the plays at the end of the game and we didn't."
"We had a chance at the end, and we got Elie (Clayton) underneath the basket and his shot didn't go in. Mike (Rotando) fouled a guy with three-tenths of a second left, they made one free throw, and we threw a baseball pass the length of the court to try to get a final shot off and it didn't work."
UMass Dartmouth fell to 0-8 and 0-2 in the Little East Conference with the loss, while Plymouth State improved to 2-6 and 1-1 with the victory. The Corsairs will return to action when they visit Johnson & Wales Tuesday evening. The Panthers will visit Lyndon State next Saturday.