MIAMI, Fla. – Despite a 17-rebound, double-double performance from freshman Nick Portelance (Fairhaven, Mass.), the UMass Dartmouth men's basketball squad fell short in their opening contest of the HoopMIA D3 Holiday Shootout on Saturday evening by a 76-57 margin to Eastern University.
The Eagles used 39 points from their bench on the night to undo the lead held by UMass Dartmouth for the entirety of the first half and the first 11 minutes of the second stanza. Eastern senior Malcolm Garrison (Baltimore, Md.) recorded all 20 of his points in the second half en route to surpassing 1,000 points for his career.
The Corsairs held steady control through the first half. Portelance was a force in the paint, snatching 12 of his boards while leading all scorers with nine points. Both teams shot an even 12-of-34 from the field in the opening period, with three-point buckets from both Jordan Rezendes (Onset, Mass.) and Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, Mass.) serving as the difference-makers for UMD's 31-27 lead at the break.
Eastern then used a steady offensive attack, capitalizing on missed Corsair shots to chip away and overtake the lead. With 11:21 remaining, Eagle freshman Abraham Kurnick (Miami, Fla.) made two consecutive buckets to tie the game at 40 and eventually take a 42-40 lead. Shaquan Turk (Philadelphia, Pa.) then connected on a layup following an Akanni score to put the Eagles up for good.
The Eagles put the game out of reach in the final ten minutes, thanks in part to Garrison's 6-of-6 performance from beyond the arc. Turk finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds on the game, while freshman Victor Pena (Montecristi, Dominican Republic) added 12 points and 12 boards.
Rezendes led the Corsair scorers on the evening, connecting for 18 points. Portelance added 11 points to post his second career double-double, with Akanni contributing nine points.
UMass Dartmouth wraps up its time in Florida tomorrow at 3 p.m., as they meet SUNY Plattsburgh (5-1). The Cardinals prevailed in their opening contest of the event earlier in the day, downing Stevenson 81-67.