PROVIDENCE, RI–Host Rhode Island College built a 44-35 halftime lead, and went on to defeat the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's basketball team, 71-60, in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader at the Murray Center Tuesday evening.
The Anchormen broke a 27-27 tie by outscoring the Corsairs, 17-8, during the final 5:19 of the first half. After RIC broke the tie with a 7-0 run, sophomore guard Jake Laga (Northampton, MA/Northampton HS) connected from three-point range for UMD, then added a pair of free throws a few moments later to cut the lead to 37-32, and a three-pointer by sophomore guard Mike Rotando (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ/Point Pleasant Beach HS/Bloomfield) accounted for the Corsairs' final three points of the first half.
UMass Dartmouth came within two points a few times in the second half, the last on a layup by junior guard John Genkos (Worcester, MA/Doherty HS) with 9:57 remaining, but they could never get over the hump and take the lead.
Rotando led UMass Dartmouth with 13 points, and he was the only Corsair in double figures. Chris Burton had 17 for the Anchormen, Tom DeCiantis added 16 and Steven Roberts had 15. Sophomore center Alex Rodrigues (Fall River, MA/Durfee HS) had eight rebounds for UMD, which out rebounded RIC, 42-37.
"We made some mistakes, although we played hard, and it was a winnable game," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball in certain situations. We had a good effort, but the big difference was that we turned it over too many times."
The Corsairs dropped to 4-17 and 1-9 in the Little East Conference with the defeat, while the 18th-ranked Anchormen improved to 19-3 and 10-1 in LEC play with the victory. UMass Dartmouth will return to action when they host Eastern Connecticut State Saturday in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader. Rhode Island College will host Southern Maine Saturday.
UMASS DARTMOUTH BASKETBALL