DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Sophomore Brandon Williams Jr. (Dorchester, Mass.) scored eight of his career-high 28 points, including the eventual game-winning basket with 20 seconds remaining in overtime, to lift the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to a 101-99 upset victory over No. 10 Eastern Connecticut State University this afternoon in Little East Conference men's basketball action inside the Tripp Athletic Center. The Warriors erased a nine-point deficit with one minute, 36 seconds left in regulation to force the extra session, but the Corsairs' backcourt provided enough scoring down the stretch to hand the visitors their first conference loss of the campaign.
Score: UMass Dartmouth 101, #10 Eastern Connecticut 99
Records: UMass Dartmouth (12-11, 5-7 LEC) | Eastern Connecticut (20-3, 11-1 LEC)
How it Happened
Freshman Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) and Williams Jr. combined for 59 points to power the UMass Dartmouth offensive attack. Ashworth poured in a career-high 31 points, including 4-for-7 from behind the three-point arc and 9-for-10 from the foul line, pulled in seven rebounds, and handed out three assists. He shot 60-percent (9-for-15) from the field to put an additional five points between his previous best (26 at Southern Maine, Feb 3). Williams Jr. also connected on 60-percent (9-for-15) of his attempts from the floor, while filling out the box score with a team high eight rebounds and seven assists. Junior Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey) netted 18 points to reach double digits for the third consecutive contest and Arinze Obiora (Lagos, Nigeria) rounded out the contingent in double figures with 13 points.
Senior Tarchee Brown (Rockville, Conn.) led five Eastern Connecticut players in double figures with a double-double of 31 points and 10 rebounds. The Rockville, Conn. product converted 12-of-17 attempts from the field to post his third game of the season with at least 30 points. Sophomore Jake Collagan (Wethersfield, Conn.) came off the bench to produce 20 points, including 4-for-5 from long distance, in just 28 minutes of action, while senior Jacob Collins (Bristol, Conn.) shot 80-percent of the field (8-for-10) for 17 points in a reserve role. Sophomore Carlos Gonzalez (Springfield, Mass.) nearly earned a double-double with 12 points and nine assists, while senior Kendall Marquez (Willimantic, Conn.) logged 11 points.
UMass Dartmouth gained the early momentum by scoring the opening four points and using a 9-2 run to jump out to the early advantage. The Corsairs led for nearly the entire opening 20 minutes of action, except for a brief 21-21 tie with just under 10 minutes remaining in the frame. Ashworth sparked a 7-0 surge with a jumper and a three-pointer before Obiora capped the run with the front end of a pair of foul shots to give the hosts the advantage for the remainder of the half. UMass Dartmouth took its largest lead of the stanza at 35-24 on an Atakan jumper and entered the locker room with a 41-32 advantage. The Corsairs shot 51.4 percent (18-for-35) from the field in the first half, while limiting Eastern Connecticut to 41.9 percent (13-for-31) and 22.2 percent (2-for-9) from long distance.
The Warriors came charging out of the gate in the second half, scoring the first five points to cut the deficit to four, but Williams Jr. stemmed the tide with a layup to stop the visitors' momentum. UMass Dartmouth was able to keep Eastern Connecticut at an arms' distance for the next 10 minutes, until Collagan knocked down a three-point to cut the lead to 63-60 and force a Corsair timeout. UMass Dartmouth responded out of the break with another 7-0 run, ignited by a Ashworth triple, to stretch the lead back to double digits (70-60) with five minutes left in regulation. The Corsairs ballooned their advantage to 15 points (75-60) with four minutes, 30 seconds on the clock. However, Eastern Connecticut would not go away easily as the conference leaders utilized a 10-2 run to whittle the deficit to 77-70. Trailing by five points with under a minute left on the clock, Marquez sank three free throws and Gonzalez connected on a lay-up to knot the contest at 85-all with 46 ticks left. The back-and-forth affair continued when Ashworth made the back-end of his two chances at the foul line to give the hosts a two-point lead, but Brown responded with a layup to force overtime. UMass Dartmouth had two chances on the final possession, but the tip attempt rolled off the rim.
Inside The Numbers
UMass Dartmouth and Eastern Connecticut have split their last six meetings with the Corsairs winning the past two contests in Dartmouth.
The Corsairs squared off against their third-nationally ranked opponent this season, previously losing to MIT and Eastern Connecticut.
UMass Dartmouth handed the Warriors their first conference and road loss of the season.
UMass Dartmouth connected on 47.9 percent (35-for-73) from the field, 33.3 percent (7-for-21) and 80 percent (24-for-30) from the foul line.
Eastern Connecticut shot 55.1 percent (38-for-69) from the field and 41.2 percent (7-for-17) from downtown, but struggled from the charity stripe (69.9 percent, 16-for-23).
UMass Dartmouth had a plus-10 margin on the boards (43-33) and capitalized on second chance points (16-7).
Williams Jr. previous single-game high in points was 19 at Western Connecticut on Jan. 27, 2018.
UMass Dartmouth will return to action at 7:30pm on Wednesday, Feb. 14, when the Corsairs travel to Rhode Island College (6-16, 3-8 LEC) for the penultimate game of the Little East Conference circuit.