BRISTOL, R.I. -- Sophomore Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) scored 20 points (including four three-pointers) to lead three players in double figures as UMass Dartmouth held off a late rally to post a 72-68 non-league college men’s basketball victory over Roger Williams Sunday afternoon at the Campus Recreation Center.
The visiting Corsairs (3-2) opened up a pair of eight-point first half leads before settling for a 39-32 advantage at the break on the strength of 11 points from Ashworth, and a lay-in by senior Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey) on the opening possession after intermission extended that margin to nine points. The host Hawks (2-4) whittled their deficit to five on senior Austin Coene’s (Tyngsboro, Mass.) lay-in less than two minutes later, but an Ashworth trey and a lay-in by freshman Adam Seablom (Lakeville, Mass.) gave the visitors a 10-point cushion (47-37) with 13 minutes to play.
UMass Dartmouth carried that double-digit edge into the closing minutes, and back-to-back lay-ins from Akcam and junior Marquis Jones (Randolph, Mass.) extended the Corsairs’ lead to 14 (64-50) with 4:48 remaining. Roger Williams responded by scoring 13 of the game’s next 15 points to creep back to within a possession (66-63) on senior Ben Stone’s (Hebron, Conn.) three-pointer with 1:20 left, but an Ashworth jumper and a pair of free throws from freshman Marcus Azor (Brockton, Mass.) gave the visitors a seven-point edge with 29 seconds remaining. Junior Rick Pugliese’s (Middlebury, Conn.) trey enabled the Hawks to close back to within four, and after an Akcam free throw, the hosts got back to within three on sophomore JJ Pfohl’s (Trumbull, Conn.) lay-in with five seconds left before a free throw from senior Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) iced the visitors’ triumph.
Sophomore Patrick Gavin (Beverly, Mass.) added 14 points and four rebounds off the bench in the win for UMass Dartmouth, which received a double-double effort of 12 points, 11 boards and four blocks from Obiora along with nine points and six caroms from Akcam. The Corsairs shot 39 percent (29-74) from the field and held a 47-37 rebounding advantage for the contest.
Coene posted a double-double effort of a game-high 22 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and four blocks in the setback for Roger Williams, which received 11 points off the bench from sophomore Jeff Stockmal (Shelton, Conn.). Pugliese and senior Jake Heaton (Shelton, Conn.) each added nine points for the Hawks, who received 11 boards from junior Ian Carmichael (Atkinson, N.H.). The hosts shot 43 percent (25-58) from the floor overall but hurt themselves with 15 turnovers on the day.
UMass Dartmouth hosts Southern Maine in its Little East Conference opener on Wednesday evening at the Tripp Athletic Center that tips-off at 7:30 pm, while Roger Williams travels to Springfield, Mass. on Wednesday evening to square off with Western New England in its Commonwealth Coast Conference lid-lifter that also tips-off at 7:30 pm.
(Photo Credit: Rainier Almonte '19)