WILLIMANTIC, CT –Host Eastern Connecticut State raced to a 51-25 halftime lead and went on to defeat the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's basketball team, 91-63, in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader at Geissler Gymnasium Tuesday evening.
The Warriors scored 20 consecutive points midway through the first half to erase the Corsairs' last lead, which came with 13:27 left in the first half when sophomore guard Jake Laga (Northampton, MA/Northampton HS) connected from three-point range to give UMD a 15-14 lead.
A pair of baskets by sophomore center Alex Rodrigues (Fall River, MA/Durfee HS) sandwiched around buckets by Laga and junior forward Eleazar Clayton (Boston, MA/East Boston HS) keyed an 8-2 run that allowed UMD to cut the Warrior lead to 44-25 with 2:05 left in the first half, but the Corsairs got no closer before the halftime break.
Rodrigues led the Corsairs with 15 points; Clayton added 12 and Laga contributed 11. Chris Robitaille of ECSU led all scorers with 25 points; Brian Salzillo added 20 and Mike Garrow had 11. Robitaille had 10 rebounds for the Warriors, while UMD freshman center Wale Abraham (Lynn, MA/Lynn Classical HS) had eight as ECSU out rebounded UMass Dartmouth, 41-36. Eastern Connecticut made 55.9 per cent of their shots from the field to 39.3 per cent for the Corsairs.
"We were beaten by a better team tonight," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "We came out of the box well, and got an early lead, but they made a big run, Elie (Clayton) got into foul trouble, and we weren't able to climb back in it. We weren't able to guard Robitaille inside, and Salazar is a good three point shooter, he made three or four in a row from 25 feet."
UMass Dartmouth fell to 2-10 and 0-4 in the Little East Conference with the defeat, while Eastern Connecticut improved to 9-5 and 3-1 in the LEC with the victory. The Corsairs will return to action when they host Southern Maine Saturday in the second half of a Little East Conference doubleheader. The Colonials will visit UMass Boston Saturday.