Bouchard's Hot Shooting Can't Cool Off Eastern Connecticut
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth freshman Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Mass.) scored a season-high 30 points, including five 3-pointers, but Eastern Connecticut State University was able to remain unbeaten in the Little East men's basketball circuit with a 78-69 victory this evening at the Tripp Athletic Center.
The Corsairs (8-5) had their two-game conference-winning streak snapped to fall to 2-2, while the Warriors (10-4) stand alone atop the Little East table at 4-0.
Bouchard accounted for 43.5 percent of the UMass Dartmouth production this evening, connecting on 8-for-13 from the field and 9-for-10 from the foul line. The rookie guard from Kingston, Mass. put an additional four points between his previous career-high in his collegiate debut against Elms College. Sophomore Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass.) nearly produced a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds, while freshman Ryan Walsh (North Dighton, Mass.) recorded nine points, six rebounds, and three assists.
Senior Brian Salzillo (North Haven, Conn.) paced five Eastern student-athletes in double figures with 18 points. Classmate Mike Garrow (Terryville, Conn.) netted 14 points, while sophomore Trachone Preston (Enfield, Conn.) and junior Leroy Haye (Delray Beach, Fla.) contributed 13 points. Freshman Hugh Lindo (Enfield, Conn.) chipped in with 11 points to complete the Warriors' scoring contingent in double digits. Garrow pulled in eight rebounds to help the visitors edge their hosts on the glass, 38-36.
Both teams traded baskets over the first three minutes of regulation before the visitors broke open a six-all tie with a 12-4 run to put some distance between their hosts. Eastern Connecticut scored all its points during the stretch from inside the paint, including six by Lindo. The Warriors made another decisive run to close the frame, outscoring the Corsairs 21-8 to enter the intermission leading 39-22.
UMass Dartmouth began to methodically whittle away its deficit over the first seven minutes of the second stanza. The Corsairs utilized a 17-7 run to trim Eastern's lead to 11 points (46-35), keyed by Abraham's six points. The Warriors were able to balloon their lead back up to 17 points (54-37), but Bouchard put the hosts on his back--scoring 19 of the UMD's 23 points--to cut their deficit to six points (68-62) with 94 seconds remaining regulation. UMass Dartmouth would not get any closer as Eastern Connecticut salted away the conference victory by converting 10-for-16 down the stretch from the foul line.
The Warriors shot 50 percent (27-for-54) from the field, while limiting the Corsairs to just 39.7 percent (25-for-63).
UMass Dartmouth will return to action at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16, when the Corsairs travel to Curry College for a non-conference game. Eastern Connecticut will host the University of Southern Maine at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18.