NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. –Freshman guard Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Mass.) scored a game-high 26 points in his collegiate debut to lead the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's basketball team to a 100-88 victory over visiting Elms College this evening in the first round of the 2013 Hampton Inn Classic.
The Corsairs (1-0) will advance to face Colby College in the championship game tomorrow evening at 6:30 p.m., while the Blazers will square off against Anna Maria at 4:30 p.m.
Brouchard led a balanced scoring attack as five UMass Dartmouth student-athletes reached double digits in scoring. The freshman guard from Kingston, Mass. was 8-for-15 from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc. Junior Jake Laga (Northampton, Mass.) registered 17 points, while sophomore center Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass.) produced a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman guard Ryan Walsh (North Dighton, Mass.) and sophomore Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, Mass.) chipped in with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Trailing by three points at the halftime intermission, the Corsairs took a lead they would not relinquish when Bouchard connected on consecutive baskets to put the hosts up 50-48 with 16 minutes remaining. UMass Dartmouth continued to ride the momentum as Walsh sandwiched a trifecta and a jumper between a Bouchard triple to balloon the advantage to nine.
Elms would not go quietly as the Blazers stormed back with a mini 5-0 run, capped by a pair of free throws by senior Isaiah ODunlami (Largo, Md.).
The hosts responded with a 19-5 surge in a four-minute span to take a game-high 18-point lead. Sophomore Steven Handy (Oak Bluffs, Mass.) and Akanni fanned the fire with five points apiece.
UMass Dartmouth continued to hold a double-digit lead with one minute remaining when Josh Brunson (Springfield, Mass.) converted a traditional three-point play. The Corsairs kept Elms at bay to secure their first victory of the season.
Odunlami recorded a team-high 20 points, 5-for-12 shooting, to pace five players in double figures. Junior Kenneth Lockett (Atlanta, Ga.) registered a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards.