Men's Basketball Defeats Keene State, 89-66NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's basketball team turned up the pressure against visiting Keene State in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader at the Tripp Athletic Center on Saturday.
The Corsairs, who came into the game ranked 17th in the latest d3hoops.com poll, forced 20 first half turnovers for the second consecutive game, took a 49-33 halftime lead, and went on to defeat the Owls, 89-66.
UMass Dartmouth got on top early, scoring the game's first 13 points. Junior guard Jeff Macchi (Franklin, MA/Franklin HS) had a pair of baskets and three free throws during the run, which also included a pair of jumpers by junior forward Brandon Shelton (Cambridge, MA/Cambridge Rindge & Latin HS/UMass Lowell) and a layup by sophomore forward Brandon Stephens (Dorchester, MA/Newton North HS).
The Owls came back, using a 12-2 run midway through the first half to cut the UMD advantage to four points, 31-27, with 6:19 left in the first half. Senior forward Tyler Kathan (Ludlow, VT/Springfield HS) began the run with a three-pointer, and freshman guard Derek D'Amours (Agawam, MA/Agawam HS) capped it with another trey. But Stephens sparked an 11-4 run with two layups and a three-pointer, and UMass Dartmouth went into the halftime break with a 49-33 advantage.
Stephens hit a three-pointer and Macchi added a bucket and a free throw to help the Corsairs grab a 57-37 lead with 14:34 remaining, and UMass Dartmouth kept their lead in double digits for the remainder of the game.
"I was very pleased with the way we played," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "We moved the ball well on offense, and used our press to force a lot of turnovers. The press is our bread and butter; we're doing a good job of forcing the other teams to make errors. We've been playing this style to overcome our lack of height, and the press has been a key to our success. We were outrebounded by a significant margin today, and we still won the game."
Stephens led the Corsairs with 24 points; Macchi added 20 and Shelton contributed 14. Kathan led all scorers with 30 points for the Owls, and D'Amours had 14. Shelton grabbed seven rebounds, but KSC's Anderson had 11 as Keene State won the battle of the boards, 47-32. But the Corsairs used 18 steals to force 35 turnovers while committing only 14, with senior guard Reece Freeman (Cambridge, MA/Rindge & Latin HS) leading the way with four steals and five assists.
The Corsairs improved to 19-2 and 9-1 in the Little East Conference with the victory, while the Owls dropped to 10-10 and 6-4 with the defeat. UMass Dartmouth will return to action when they visit Rhode Island College in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader Tuesday evening. Keene State will host Plymouth State next Tuesday.