Feb. 23, 2010
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's basketball team used a 24-2 run midway through the second half to erase a 15-point deficit and went on to defeat visiting Plymouth State, 77-67, in a first round playoff game in the Little East Conference Tournament at the Tripp Athletic Center Tuesday evening.
Junior forward Brandon Stephens (Dorchester, MA/Newton North HS) ignited the run with a three-pointer, then added a trey and a jumper. A three-pointer by Stephens put UMD ahead for good, 56-55 with 6:20 remaining. Shelton added a three-pointer, and senior forward V.J. Divine (Brookline, MA/Brookline HS) capped the run with a three-point play that put the Corsairs up, 62-55 with 5:22 remaining. Three-point plays by senior guard Jason O'Keefe (Everett, MA/Everett HS) and junior guard Ryan Lambert (Derry, NH/Pinkerton Academy) sandwiched around a three-pointer by senior forward Mike Chergey (Bow, NH/Bow HS) gave PSU a 53-38 advantage with 12 minutes remaining, before the Corsairs rallied.
"I thought we played poorly in the first half," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "We were playing catch up the whole time. We got a three and a big stop and another three and another big stop, and that turned the momentum around and rejuvenated us. We started playing UMass basketball, unlike what we played in the first half."
Stephens led UMD with 20 points, Shelton and sophomore center Lance Greene (Dorchester, MA/Charlestown HS/UMass Lowell) each had 18, and senior guard Tyler Turtoro (Shelton, CT/Shelton HS) contributed 10. Chergey led PSU with 21 points, O'Keefe added 17 and Lambert had 16. Greene had 11 rebounds for a double double, while Lambert had seven for the Panthers, who were out rebounded by the Corsairs, 35-28. UMass Dartmouth made 59.3 per cent of their shots from the field in the second half and made nine of 16 from beyond the arc to seven of 21 for Plymouth State.
The Corsairs improved to 18-8 with the victory, while the Panthers dropped to 16-10 with the defeat. UMass Dartmouth advances to play regular season champion Rhode Island College in a LEC semi-final game Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. at the Murray Center. The game was the season finale for Plymouth State.