DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Junior Jordan Rezendes (Onset, Mass.) drained a jumper from the right elbow with less than one second remaining in overtime to lift the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to a dramatic 88-87 Little East Conference victory over visiting Plymouth State University this afternoon in a NCAA Division III men's basketball game inside the Tripp Athletic Center.
Trailing by one point with 12 seconds left in the extra session, Rezendes tried to convert a lay-up, but his rebound caroomed towards the right sideline and a was secured by a Panther. Fearing a turnover by stepping out-of-bounds, the visitor tossed the ball back into the court, where Rezendes was able to catch-and-shoot before the final buzzer, sending the hometown fans into a frenzy.
The Corsairs collected their second straight win to improve their overall record to 9-8, including 5-2 in the conference circuit. The Panthers fell to 6-11 and 1-6 inside the Little East.
Senior captain Jake Laga (Northampton, Mass.) led four UMass Dartmouth student-athletes in double figures in scoring with 21 points, on 8-for-16 from the field. Junior Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass.) posted a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Senior captain John Genkos (Worcester, Mass.) scored nine of his 11 points from behind the three-point arc, while Rezendes added 12 points off the bench.
Freshman Brian Boulay (Keene, N.H.) scored 17 of his 20 points in the first frame to give Plymouth State a 43-37 lead at the intermission. Boulay finished the contest 6-for-8 from the field, including 2-for-2 from long range, in 22 minutes of action. Sophomore Jack Preston (Nashua, N.H.) registered 20 points, on 6-for-12 from the floor, and a team-best seven rebounds, while senior Alex Burt (Dover, N.H.) poured in 18 points. Boulay, Preston, and Burt combined for 67 percent of the Panther offensive output.
Laga converted a pair of free throws to extend UMass Dartmouth's lead to 78-75 with just 18 seconds remaining in regulation. The Corsairs were able to get a stop at the other end of the court, but were unable to seal the contest from the foul line, missing the front-end of the one-and-one. Plymouth State capitalized on its opportunity as sophomore Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.) sank a game-tying three-pointer from the right wing with just two ticks left on the clock.
The Panthers utilized an 8-2 run in the early portion of the second half to take the largest lead of the contest at 53-44 with 16 minutes remaining in regulation. However, UMass Dartmouth responded with a 9-0 run over the next four minutes to forge a 53-all tie. Laga ignited the surge with a three-pointer, while sophomore Jon Robinson (Chatham, Mass.) closed the run by laying in a bucket off the fast break and forced a visitor timeout.
Neither team led by more than two possessions over the final 12 minutes of regulation. Senior Alex Rodrigues (Fall River, Mass.) gave the Corsairs their first lead (60-58) since the 8:26 mark of the first half.
UMass Dartmouth shot 52.3 percent (34-for-65) from the field, including 42.9 percent (6-for-14) from behind the three-point arc. The Corsairs held a 36-34 advantage on the boards, but committed one more turnover than their visitors (11-10).
UMass Dartmouth will return to action at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27, when the Corsairs host Little East Conference rival Rhode Island College (13-4, 5-2 LEC).