DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth drained a season-high 16 three-pointers, including 10-for-15 in the second half, to post a 98-82 victory over visiting intrastate rival University of Massachusetts Boston this evening in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 Little East Conference Men's Basketball Championship Tournament.
The Corsairs matched the program's single-game record for most three-pointers made, tying the previous standard that was set against Salem State College in 1993.
Third-seeded UMass Dartmouth (14-12) will advance to face second-seeded Rhode Island College (19-7) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 27 at top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University (22-4). The Corsairs and Anchormen split their season series with each team protecting home court. The game time will be determined by the conference office on Wednesday morning. The sixth-seeded Beacons complete their 2015 campaign with an overall record of 14-12.
The Corsairs shot 46.5 percent (33-for-71) from the field, including 53.3 percent (16-for-30) from behind the three-point arc, to register their second-highest point total of the season. Senior John Genkos (Worcester, Mass.) scored 18 of his 20 points from behind the three-point arc, while junior Jordan Rezendes (Onset, Mass.) led all scorers with 35 points, on 11-for-19 from the floor, 4-for-6 from downtown, and 9-for-9 from the foul line. Senior Jake Laga (Northampton, Mass.) poured 16 points, including four triples, while junior Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass.) turned in a balanced performance with nine points and nine rebounds.
Senior Gregory Young (Minuteman Vocational Tech.) paced four UMass Boston student-athletes in double digits in scoring with 21 points. He was 7-for-12 from the floor and a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe. Junior Omar Benabicha (Saugus, Mass.) netted 14 points, while seniors Luc Ulysse (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Carl Joseph (Brockton, Mass.) each contributed 12 points. The Beacons received contributions for 12 different players to win the battle on the boards, 44-38, led by six apiece from Joseph and junior Karl Agenor (Dorchester, Mass.).
UMass Boston cracked the scoring column with the first four points of the evening, but UMass Dartmouth responded with a 15-4 run. Genkos keyed the surge with back-to-back trifectas, while Abraham chipped in with five. The visitors took their final advantage of the night, 32-30, on a jumper by junior Selim Omerovic (Saugus, Mass.). However, the Corsairs closed out the first half with a 14-0 run over the final 4:05. Sophomore Jon Robinson (Chatham, Mass.) sparked the surge with a triple, while Rezendes and Laga combined to score the final nine points to give the hosts a 44-32 advantage.
After exchanging baskets to open the second stanza, the Beacons exploded for a 9-1 run in just 75 seconds to trim their deficit to 51-46. Young capped the surge with seven straight points. UMass Dartmouth steady built its advantage back up to 11 points over the next several minutes, then used a decisive 20-10 run to seize control of the contest. The Corsairs sank four three-pointers, including the record-matching triple by Laga with 2:13 remaining in regulation. Rezendes caught fire down the stretch, scoring 12 of his 35 points during the critical run. He knocked down a pair of free throws to extend the hosts' lead to 21 points, the largest of the night, to seal the victory.
UMass Dartmouth limited UMass Boston to 40.3 percent (25-for-62) from the field, but held them without a three-pointer for the entire contest. The Beacons benefitted from a 37-21 advantage in free throw attempts, connecting on 86.5 percent (32-for-37). Young, Benabicha, and Ulysse combined to go a perfect 21-for-21 from the line.