BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's basketball team used an 18-7 run over the final three and a half minutes of regulation to create an opportunity to tie the contest with a long range three-pointer, but the attempt was off the mark, allowing Bridgewater State University to escape with an 81-78 victory this evening.
Trailing by 13 points with just over three and a half minutes remaining on the clock, junior Jordan Rezendes (Onset, Mass.) and sophomore Jon Robinson (Chatham, Mass.) combined for 16 points to whittle the Corsair deficit. Rezendes capped the run with a traditional three-point play to trim the disadvantage to one possession at 80-78. UMass Dartmouth fouled senior Kyle Gibson (Franklin, Mass.), who converted one of two attempts from the line to extend the hosts' lead to three points with nine seconds remaining in regulation.
UMass Dartmouth (4-4) connected on 55.9 percent (19-for-34) of its shots in the second half. Rezendes led the charge in the final 20 minutes of action, scoring 26 of his game-high 29 points. He was 10-for-15 from the floor and five-for-five from the foul line after the halftime intermission. Rezendes pulled in 10 total rebounds to post his first collegiate double-double to go along with his six assists and five steals.
Four of the five Corsair starters reached double digits in scoring. Senior Josh Castillo (Lynn, Mass.) and junior Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass.) eached scored 11 points, while both senior John Genkos (Worcester, Mass.) and Robinson chipped in with 10.
Bridgewater shot 51% (29-57) for the game including 6-for-12 (50%) from behind the arc. The Bears also converted 17 of 23 (74%) free throw attempts, but missed three in the last minute and a half which almost came back to haunt them.
Gibson scored a team-high 20 points, on 8-for-18 from the floor, to lead the Bridgewater State (3-3) offensive attack. Senior center Michael Lofton (Mansfield, Mass.) added 17 points on 5-for-7 shooting to go along five rebounds and two steals, while Tyler DeMelo (East Freetown, Mass.) tallied 16 points, three rebounds and a pair of steals. Senior guard Justin Clark (Yarmouth Port, Mass.) rounded out the Bears' double-digit point producers as he chipped in 10 points to go along with four assists, three rebounds and two steals.
The Bears opened up a 13-point lead (45-32) in the second half thanks to an early 13-2 run. The spurt was capped off by a five-point possession consisting of a Lofton three-point play and a pair of technical foul free throws by Gibson.
UMass Dartmouth answered with 13 straight points, highlighted by four consecutive layups by Rezendes, to knot the score at 45-45.
However, Bridgewater State would score the next seven on a Gibson three-point play and four straight points by Lofton to jump ahead 52-45 with 13:18 remaining. The Corsairs would rally to cut the deficit to one, 57-56, on an Alex Rodrigues (Fall River, Mass.) layup at the 8:24 mark.
The hosts seemed to take control of the game for good over the next five minutes, outscoring their visitors, 16-4, to grab a 13-point lead (73-60) as the clock ticked down towards three minutes. Bridgewater State freshman guard Rocky DeAndrade (Mansfield, Mass.) jumpstarted the run with a three-point play while DeMelo highlighted it with an emphatic breakaway dunk.
UMass Dartmouth shot 46 percent (28-for-61) from the floor and 83 percent (19-for-23) at the charity stripe, but struggled from downtown (3-for-18, 17%). The Corsairs also held a 37-28 rebounding advantage with a 12-5 edge on the offensive glass.
UMass Dartmouth will open Little East Conference action at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6, when the Corsairs travel to Plymouth State University.