DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The UMass Dartmouth men's basketball team was able to fend off a second-half surge on Friday evening, opening the 2015 Hampton Inn Tournament and 2015-16 season with a 102-93 shootout victory over Mitchell. With the win, the Corsairs advance to meet Springfield College in the Tournament Championship game Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Tripp Athletic Center.
All five of the UMD starters reached double figure scoring marks in the game, led by senior Jordan Rezendes' (Onset, Mass.) 35 points. Rezendes nearly achieved a triple-double on the night, as he paced the Corsair roster with 12 rebounds and eight assists.
The contest opened with UMass Dartmouth firing on all cylinders, with the Corsairs leading by as much as 19 halfway through the first half. UMD opened the game on a 10-0 run, with junior Jahleel Moise (Brockton, Mass.) scoring the first and last baskets of the run on layups. For the stanza, the Corsairs shot 56.8 percent from the field, including securing 30 of their 51 points in the paint and ten from Mitchell turnovers.
The Mariners were able to trim the lead to ten at half, thanks to a buzzer-beating layup from Domenico Santiago (Port St. Lucie, Fla.). Santiago put forth a solid first half, connecting of 5-of-8 from the field for 10 points, while senior Frank Martin (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) added 12 points. Collectively, Mitchell converted of 17-of-42 shooting to enter the break.
Momentum swung when play resumed, as the Mariners quickly did away with the Corsair lead. Mitchell's fast break play commanded the first six minutes to even the score at 59 at the 14:48 mark. The Mariners were led by Martin all half, as he connected for three three-pointers in the first six minutes along with a layup and a steal.
The next seven minutes saw leads traded, until UMass Dartmouth was able to take control for good at the 7:37 mark on one of Rezendes' five triples on the night. Free-throw performance secured the win, as UMD went 11-for-12 from the charity stripe on the game.
Martin closed the contest with a game-high 36 points, going 6-for-6 from long range in the second half. Additionally, he was perfect from the foul line (8-for-8) with four steals and five rebounds.
Moise finished with 16 points on 8-for-13 shooting in his Corsair debut, while freshman Nick Portelance (Fairhaven, Mass.) and junior Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, Mass.) each added 16 points. Portelance collected nine rebounds while Akanni snatched eight. Junior Jon Robinson (Chatham, Mass.) contributed 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.
Mitchell's Donovan McClean (Jersey City, N.J.) dropped 23 points with 17 in the second half alone, totaling nine rebounds, while Santiago registered a double-double, scoring 14 points with 13 boards. The Mariners connected of 11-of-18 (61 percent) tries from long range.
In the final day of the Hampton Inn Tournament, Mitchell will meet Fitchburg State in 4:30 p.m.'s consolation game, with the Corsairs hosting Springfield at 6:30 in the Championship. Springfield downed the Falcons 87-76 in Friday's opener.