PROVIDENCE, RI – Four players scored in double digits to lead host Rhode Island College past UMass Dartmouth in the first round of the Little East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Murray Center Tuesday evening.
Sophomore forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY/New Rochelle) scored 13 points for the Anchormen, Tom DeCiantis scored 10 and senior guards Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY/Benjamin Banneker) and Ethan Gaye (Providence, RI/Mount Pleasant) both added 11 apiece.
Sophomore guard Jake Laga (Northampton, MA/Northampton) scored a game-high 14 points for the UMass Dartmouth, going 5-of-9 from the field and 3-of-6 from three-point range. Junior forward Eleazar Clayton (Boston, MA/East Boston HS/Monroe College) pulled down a game-high nine rebounds for the Corsairs.
UMD trailed by six at the half, 33-27, and came up short despite outscoring RIC 31-29 in the second half. Rhode Island never had a lead larger than ten points in the contest.
The teams were relatively even from the floor with the Corsairs holding a slight edge in shooting percentage, 37.7 percent to 34.2 percent. The Anchormen held a commanding advantage on the boards, 50-38, as eight players had at least four rebounds for the home squad.
"The difference in the game was them getting second shot opportunites," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "If we did a better job in that area, we would have won the game. We went into the game without (sophomore guard) Mike (Rotando, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ/Point Pleasant Beach HS/Bloomfield)), who got hurt on Saturday. I thought our guys did a great job of working hard and playing hard. (Freshman center Wale (Abraham, Lynn, MA/Lynn Classical HS) ) was tremendous, and Jake (Laga) plays tough every game. We competed hard and battled hard. We worked our tails off and came up just short."
The Corsairs close out the season at 5-21, while the Anchormen improve to 23-3 and will host both the semifinals and finals of the 2012-13 Little East Men's Basketball Tournament this weekend.
UMASS DARTMOUTH BASKETBALL