Men's Basketball Drops 87-85 Home Opening Decision To Salem State

Men's Basketball Drops 87-85 Home Opening Decision To Salem State


DARTMOUTH, Mass. --  Junior Sean Bryan (Lowell, Mass.) scored 35 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists to lead Salem State to an 87-85 non-league college men’s basketball victory over UMass Dartmouth Tuesday evening at the Tripp Athletic Center.

The host Corsairs (0-2) scored seven of the game’s first eight points sparked by a pair of lay-ins from senior Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey), but the visiting Vikings (1-1) responded with a 14-4 run to grab a four-point lead (15-11) on a pair of free throws by Bryan with 11:30 remaining in the first half.  UMass Dartmouth grabbed a one-point edge on three occasions and received five points from sophomore Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) in the final 3:23 of play en route to a 39-34 advantage at the break, and after the teams traded baskets on their opening possessions after intermission, Salem State used a 12-2 run to take a five-point cushion (48-43) on freshman Chris MacDonald’s (Wakefield, Mass.) jumper with 16:07 remaining.

Freshman Marcus Azor’s (Brockton, Mass.) conventional three-point play ended the run and sliced the Corsairs’ deficit to a bucket at 48-46, but the Vikings extended that margin with 10 unanswered points that included five from senior Tyreik McCauley (Worcester, Mass.) and a conventional three-point play by junior Matt McCune (Somerville, Mass.) in a 4:23 span.  Senior Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) scored the hosts’ next seven points to slice UMass Dartmouth’s deficit to six (63-57) with 8:16 to remaining in the contest, and after the visitors restored their double-digit lead (75-65) on Bryan’s jumper with 4:54 to play, the Corsairs stormed back with a 13-3 run of their own to creep back to within three on Obiora’s dunk with 2:16 remaining.  Salem State built its lead to six on a Bryan three-point play with 36 seconds left, as the hosts got back to within a possession in the closing eight seconds of action to account for the final margin.

Bryan went 15-of-16 at the foul line to lead five players in double figures in the win for the Vikings, who received 13 points and three steals from junior Hakeem Animashaun (Dedham, Mass.) along with 111 points, four boards and three assists from McCauley.  MacDonald and senior Bryan Martinez (Salem, Mass.) finished with 10 points each for Salem State, which shot 47 percent (29-62) from the field and held a 24-15 scoring edge at the foul line for the contest.

Obiora registered a double-double effort of 26 points and a career-high 20 rebounds (11 offensive) in the setback for UMass Dartmouth, as he shot 10-of-20 from the field and dished out three assists as well for the hosts.  Akcam and Ashworth each added 17 points and five caroms for the Corsairs, who received nine points and nine rebounds from freshman Sean Leahy (Hanson, Mass.).  Azor added seven points for UMass Dartmouth, which shot 38 percent (31-81) from the floor and connected for eight three-pointers while holding a commanding 60-32 edge on the glass for the evening.

UMass Dartmouth takes on Clark in opening round action of the 21st Annual LaFrance Hospitality Tournament on Friday evening at the Tripp Athletic Center that tips-off at 7:30 pm, while Salem State heads to Williamstown, Mass. on Saturday afternoon to take on Williams in a non-league clash that begins at 5:00 pm.

(Photo Credit:  Rainier Almonte '20)