WESTON, Mass. – UMass Dartmouth men's basketball turned a one-point deficit into a 22-5 run in the final five minutes of the second half on Tuesday to prevail 87-71 on the road over non-conference foe Regis (Mass.).
The contest marked the second-straight outing that the duo of senior Jordan Rezendes (Onset, Mass.) and freshman Nick Portelance (Fairhaven, Mass.) have combined for over 50 points in as many victories for the Corsairs. UMass Dartmouth has now won back-to-back games after closing December with three straight losses.
Rezendes led all scorers on the evening, turning out 28 points for the second time this week on 7-of-16 shooting from the field and 12-of-14 from the charity stripe. The captain also dished out five assists.
Portelance secured his fourth-straight double-double, dropping 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting in the midst of snagging 14 rebounds.
The Pride saw four players reach double figures in the score column, led by senior Jeff Tagger's (Brockton, Mass.) 16 points. Junior Chris Leak (New Haven, Conn.), freshman Ademola Afonja (Staten Island, N.Y.) and senior Hector Heredia (Lawrence, Mass.) each posted 10 points, with Leak registering a team-high 11 boards.
The Corsairs converted on 32 of 60 attempts (53 percent) from the floor for the evening, including a perfect performance from freshman Atakan Akcam (Hoosac Falls, N.Y.), who contributed eight points on 3-of-3 from the field with two from long range. Junior Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, Mass.) also scored eight points with four rebounds and three assists, while classmate Jon Robinson (Chatham, Mass.) recorded a game-high six assists.
The game was closely contested throughout the first half, with neither team leading by more than six points. Both six-point advantages were held by UMass Dartmouth within the last minute of the stanza, as Rezendes hit a layup with 46 seconds remaining to secure the largest lead thus far.
Following a Pride bucket, freshman Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) connected on two free throws, extending the lead back to six, until Tagger made two foul shots of his own to close the half. The Corsairs entered the break with a 36-32 lead.
The second half began with much of the same, with traded advantages until the 5:19 mark. Down 66-65, a Portelance layup and free throw sparked six straight unanswered buckets.
Portelance and Rezendes then accounted for 12 of UMass Dartmouth's next 14 baskets, leading the commanding 22-5 Corsair run which comprised the final five minutes of play. The duo combined for 40 of their squad's 51 second-half points.
Little East Conference play is next on the horizon for UMass Dartmouth, as the 7-5 Corsairs will travel to Western Connecticut for a 3 p.m. tip on Saturday.