Freshman Backcourt Leads UMass Dartmouth Past Keene

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth freshman backcourt combined to score 49 points to lead the Corsairs men's basketball team to a 103-90 victory over Keene State College this afternoon at the Tripp Athletic Center.

UMass Dartmouth (10-5, 3-2 LEC) produced its highest offensive output of the season, putting an additional three points between its first game of the campaign against Elms College. Freshman Ryan Walsh (North Dighton, Mass.) registered a career-high 29 points, on 12-for-17 from the field, to lead four UMass Dartmouth players in double digits in scoring. Classmate Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Mass.) recorded 20 points, on 5-for-12 shooting, while junior Jake Laga (Northampton, Mass.) nearly posted a double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds. Junior Alex Rodrigues (Fall River, Mass.) matched his season-high in points with 11. Sophomore Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass.) pulled in a team-best 11 boards to help UMass Dartmouth win the rebounding battle, 49-39.

The Owls also placed four student-athletes in double figures in scoring, led by Nate Howard's 27 points. Tom Doyle and Tre Tipton each contributed 13 points, while Lucas Hammel chipped in with 12 points. Howard collected a team-best eight caroms, while Tipton dished out seven assists.

In a back and forth first 20 minutes of action, Keene State (5-9, 2-3) jumped out to an early 15-9 lead.  The two teams were unable to put any distance between themselves until the Corsairs scored nine of the 10 points during a key stretch to break a 30-all tie.  Bouchard converted all four of his attempts from the foul line to give the hosts a 47-43 lead entering the halftime intermission. 

UMass Dartmouth registered the first nine points of the second stanza to provide the Corsairs with their first double digit advantage of the contest.  Walsh spearheaded the charge with seven of the nine points, including a 3-pointer to give the hosts a 56-43 lead. UMD was able to keep its visitors at an arm's length until the Owls ripped off a 7-0 run to trim their deficit to four points (68-64). Following a Corsair timeout, sophomore Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, Mass.) stemmed the tide with a 3-pointer.  UMD would not let Keene State get any closer, as the hosts reclaimed their double digit advantage for the majority of the final six minutes of regulation.  

The Corsairs shot 50 percent (35-for-70) from the field and 80 percent (28-for-35) from the foul line. The Owls connected on 45.2 percent (33-for-73) of their attempts from the floor, including 40 percent (6-for-15) from behind the 3-point arc.

UMass Dartmouth will return to action at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, when the Corsairs travel to Little East foe University of Massachusetts Boston (5-9, 0-5). Keene State will also be in action that evening at 7:30 p.m., when the Owls visit Eastern Connecticut State University (11-4, 5-0).