Men's Basketball Claims Lafrance Hospitality Title With 89-72 Win Over Mitchell

Men's Basketball Claims Lafrance Hospitality Title With 89-72 Win Over Mitchell
DARTMOUTH, Mass. --  Senior Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors after notching a double-double effort of 23 points and 15 rebounds and leading UMass Dartmouth to an 89-72 victory over Mitchell in the championship game of the 21st Annual Lafrance Hospitality Tournament Saturday afternoon at the Tripp Athletic Center.  Lehman claimed third place honors in this year’s tournament, as the Lightning received 25 points and seven boards from sophomore Isaiah Geathers (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in an 81-65 triumph over Clark.
The host Corsairs (2-2) scored 12 of the game’s first 16 points and built an early 22-12 advantage, and after the visiting Mariners (1-1) sliced that margin to six with just over 11 minutes to play in the first half, UMass Dartmouth used a closing 26-11 run fueled by Obiora’s 14 points and eight caroms to take a 48-27 lead at the break.  A three-pointer by senior Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey) 2:22 after intermission staked the hosts to the largest advantage (57-32) of the day, but Mitchell battled back with a 25-10 run in less than eight minutes to creep back to within 10 (67-57) on sophomore Malik Chase’s (Providence, R.I.) conventional three-point play with 9:37 remaining.  Akcam, Obiora and freshman Marcus Azor (Brockton, Mass.) combined to spark a decisive 14-4 Corsair run that gave UMass Dartmouth an 81-59 lead with 4:56 to play, as the hosts built that margin to as much as 24 points in the closing minutes.
Akcam finished with 16 points, five assists and three rebounds for the winners, who received 14 points (including four three-pointers) and three steals from sophomore Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.).  Azor rounded out the Corsair quartet in double figures with 13 points, six boards and four steals, while junior Marquis Jones (Randolph, Mass.) collected seven points, seven boards and three assists.  Freshman Sean Leahy (Hanson, Mass.) grabbed five rebounds on the afternoon for UMass Dartmouth, which shot 40 percent (29-72) from the field and canned seven three-pointers while holding a slim 47-46 rebounding edge for the contest.
Senior Domenico Santiago (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) notched a double-double performance of 21 points, 16 rebounds and three assists in the setback for Mitchell, which received 11 points, seven boards and four assists from junior Matt Finke (Wolcott, Conn.).  Senior Steffen Brunson (West Haven, Conn.) added nine points, five caroms and three assists for the Mainers, who received eight points from junior Hasani Williams (Miramar, Fla.).  The visitors shot 44 percent (32-72) from the field and scored 23 points off turnovers on the day, as the Corsairs held a 24-6 scoring advantage at the foul line.
Lehman (1-2) used a 52 percent shooting effort (13-25) from the field in the opening 20 minutes of play en route to its third place triumph over Clark (1-3), as the Lightning grabbed a 39-30 halftime lead and expanded that margin to as many as 17 midway through the second half on the strength of 19 points from Geathers.  The Cougars crept back to within 12 on a pair of occasions in the closing seven minutes of action, as Lehman used a 40-16 scoring margin in the paint to notch its triumph.
Junior Jaquan Strong (Bronx, N.Y.) added 17 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Lightning, who received 15 points and seven boards from senior Fred Truss (Yonkers, N.Y.).  Senior Xavier Boyd(Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) and freshman Will Feldman (Bronx, N.Y.) each added eight points and three caroms for Lehman, which shot just under 50 percent (27-55) from the floor and held a 21-14 advantage at the foul line on the day.
Junior Brandan Kittredge (Clinton, Mass.) registered a double-double effort of 17 points, 11 rebounds and three assists in the setback for Clark, which received 15 points and nine boards from sophomore Tyler Davern (Webster, Mass.).  Sophomore Biko Gayman (Fort Pierce, Fla.) added 13 points, four assists and three caroms for the Cougars, who collected nine points and four boards from freshman Antonio Lapeyrolerie (Plano, Tex.).  Clark shot 31 percent (22-72) overall and connected for seven three-pointers, as the Cougars held a 43-37 rebounding edge and scored 29 points off turnovers.
Obiora was joined by Akcam and Ashworth on the all-tournament team, which included Santiago, Geathers and Davern.
UMass Dartmouth returns to action on Sunday, November 25th when the Corsairs travel to Bristol, R.I. to take on Roger Williams in a non-league outing that tips-off at 5:00 pm.
(Photo Credit:  Lyrik Gelmete '21)