Resilient Second Half Lifts Men's Basketball over Western Connecticut, 70-69

Resilient Second Half Lifts Men's Basketball over Western Connecticut, 70-69

DANBURY, Conn. – A lay-up by junior Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Mass.) with 46 seconds remaining to put the Corsairs up a point stood until the end, giving the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth a 70-69 victory over Western Connecticut at Feldman Arena despite numerous missed chances by both teams in the waning moments.

The Basics
Score: UMass Dartmouth 70, Western Connecticut 69
Records: UMass Dartmouth (14-7, 7-3 LEC) | Western Connecticut (12-8, 4-6 LEC)

How it Happened

UMass Dartmouth struggled to find the basket in the first half, shooting just 28 percent (11-of-38) from the field as the Colonials built a close start to a double-digit advantage. The margin hovered around a possession until 7:39, when WCSU senior Aaron Samuel (Stratford, Conn.) scored four straight points to jumpstart a 7-2 Colonial run, putting the hosts up 10. Moments later, Dimitros Tsesmetzis (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) upped the lead to 31-19 with two points at the charity stripe. After Jon Robinson (Chatham, Mass.) connected on a beyond-the-arc basket, a Samuel steal and corresponding Evan Curtin (Portland, Conn.) lay-up sent WCSU into the break with a 36-26 advantage.

Early in the second half, the ball continued to fall the Colonials' way, but the Corsairs began to counter around the 15-minute mark with a traditional three-point play by Bouchard. At 12:48, Robinson sunk another long-range basket, and on the trip back down senior Chris Mendes (Somerset, Mass.) added a 3-pointer of his own. Halfway through the stanza, UMass Dartmouth twice tied the score, and held within four points until the two-minute warning.

Down 68-64 at 1:55, sophomore Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) made a pair of free throws to put the game back within a possession. With 1:09 left, freshman Mert Sert (Istanbul, Turkey) sunk one of two from the foul line, knotting the score at 68, but WCSU's Jauch Green (Hartford, Conn.) responded with a free throw with 59 ticks remaining. Off a timeout, Bouchard found the basket on a charging layup, putting the score at 70-69. The final 46 seconds were a back-and-forth consisting of three missed shots by the hosts and four missed free throws by the visitors with UMass Dartmouth able to hold on.

Inside the Numbers

  •  The Corsairs rebounded from their cold first half with 51 percent (17-of-33) shooting, outdoing Western Connecticut's 14-of-35 (40 percent) performance over the final 20 minutes.
  • Bouchard finished with a team-high 14 points (6-of-11), while Sert snagged a game-high 14 rebounds, his second-highest total of the season, to go along with nine points.
  •  Robinson added 12 points including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc, while Obiora and classmate Nick Portelance (Fairhaven, Mass.) generated 10 points and eight boards apiece.
  • Samuel dropped a game-high 18 points for WCSU, leading five Colonials in double figures.
  • UMass Dartmouth is now the winner of seven-straight against Western Connecticut, including three victories last season, and holds a 31-29 advantage in the all-time series.

Up Next

The Corsairs seek a season-sweep of Rhode Island College as their road trip continues on Wednesday, with game time set for 7:30 p.m.