PROVIDENCE, R.I. – UMass Dartmouth sophomore guard Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) went for 13 of his season-high 22 points in the second half to knock off Little East Conference foe Rhode Island College, 65-64, at the Murray Center on Tuesday evening to extend the Blue and Gold's winning streak to six.
The Corsairs (10-4) overcame a 13-point deficit when senior forward Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) sunk a pair of free throws with 5.4 seconds on the clock to give the Blue and Gold the lead for good. The big concluded his outing with his eighth double-double of the year on 13 points and 10 caroms. The Anchormen (9-6) ran a tight ship with a rotation of just six players, all logging 23+ minutes, led by junior Benjamin Vazele's (Providence, R.I.) 19 scores and 14 boards along with four blocks.
How it Happened
- UMass Dartmouth went cold from the floor at the 7:15 mark of the opening period, trailing 24-20. The hosts took their biggest lead of the game (33-20) on a 9-0 run that ended with 3:58 to go when Ashworth was able to convert on a pair of free throws to help the visiting effort.
- The Corsairs dusted themselves off after the dry spell of offense to close the half, scoring the game's next eight to cut the difference to five (33-28) at the break.
- Blue and Gold freshman Marcus Azor (Brockton, Mass.), who finished with eight points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals, swished two pairs of free throws with under two minutes to go to bookend counterpart Tamar Williams' (New Haven, Conn.) trey for a 64-61 host lead.
- In the ensuing possession down on the other end, Obiora corralled an offensive board off of Azor's missed layup which led to Vezele drawing his fourth foul with 43 seconds on the board. Obiora connected on both tries from the stripe (64-63), putting the ball back in Rhode Island College's hands with the lead.
- Williams drove towards the hole with 24 ticks remaining but was whistled for the offensive foul, but the Corsairs could not quite initially take advantage of the giveaway as Ashworth's mid-range jumper did not fall at the 16 second mark. Forced to foul, UMass Dartmouth sent freshman Deyshawn Tengbeh (East Providence, R.I.) to the line where he missed both of his attempts to keep it a one-point differential.
- A key rebound by Corsair senior Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey) off the miss allowed Obiora to drive down court where he was fouled in the right lane by Vezele, disqualifying the Anchorman from the contest, with five seconds left. Obiora, who knocked down his first to tie it up at 64, was able to cash in on the second after the home timeout to put the Blue and Gold ahead, 65-64.
- The Anchormen did not have any timeouts remaining which led to senior Justin Campbell's (New Haven, Conn.) half-court heave, but had it fall short to get the Corsairs their fourth conference win of the year.
Inside the Numbers
- UMass Dartmouth's six-game winning streak matches its longest string of success as last year's stretch between Nov. 17 and Dec. 7.
- The Corsairs are off to their best start in conference play (4-1) since the 2008-09 season, which started its league slate 6-1.
- Ashworth's 22 surpasses the 21 points he achieved in back-to-back affairs on Dec. 8 and 10 against Tufts and Becker. He tied his season-best four made three-pointers, which he has accomplished five times entering tonight.
- The Blue and Gold limited its turnovers to 11, tying its season-low miscues to the battles against Southern Maine (Nov. 28) and UMass Boston (Jan. 5).
- UMass Dartmouth moved the ball unselfishly to the tune of 14 assists on 22 made field goals.
The Blue and Gold host Western Connecticut on Thursday at 5 p.m. The Anchormen head to UMass Boston on Saturday to battle the Beacons at 3:30 p.m.
(Recap by: Kyle Diangkinay '19, Athletic Communications Graduate Assistant)
(Photo Credit: Lyrik Gelmete '21)