BOSTON, MA–The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's basketball team took the lead for good with 7:30 remaining, then steadily pulled away to earn their first Little East Conference victory of the season, a 67-58 decision at host UMass Boston in the second game of an LEC doubleheader at the Clark Athletic Center Tuesday evening.
Freshman center Wale Abraham (Lynn, MA/Lynn Classical HS) converted a layup with seven and a half minutes to play to put the Corsairs on top, 48-47. After Abraham and Quadry Allen of the Beacons traded free throws, freshman forward Abi Akanni's (Fitchburg, MA/Fitchburg HS) and sophomore guard Jake Laga (Northampton, MA/Northampton HS) connected from the field to give the Corsairs a five-point lead.
Three free throws by the Beacons' Carl Joseph cut the lead to 58-56 with 2:13 remaining, but sophomore guard Mike Rotando (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ/Point Pleasant Beach HS/Bloomfield) and Laga each made a pair of free throws to extend the UMD lead to six points with 1:55 left. Laga and Abraham each made another free throw, and Vinny DeLucia hit a pair for UMass Boston, but junior forward Eleazar Clayton (Boston, MA/East Boston HS/Monroe CC) converted a three-point play with four seconds remaining to put the cap on the victory.
Rotando and Laga led UMass Dartmouth with 15 points apiece. DeLucia led the Beacons with 15.
"It was a nice win, it's a boost for our morale, and it's a move in the right direction," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "Hopefully, it will generate some positive energy. I was glad that we were able to make most of our free throws down the stretch, and come away with the win."
UMass Dartmouth improved to 3-12 and 1-7 in the Little East Conference with the victory, while UMass Boston dropped to 9-8 and 3-5 in the LEC with the defeat. The Corsairs will return to action when they visit Elms Thursday. The Beacons will visit Tufts Thursday.