January 21, 2014

Walsh, Corsairs Shine Past Beacons, 80-74

BOSTON – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth freshman Ryan Walsh (North Dighton, Mass.) scored 26 points, including a career-high seven 3-pointers, but the Corsairs had to withstand a 12-0 run to hold on for an 80-74 victory at the University of Massachusetts Boston this evening in a Little East men's basketball contest at the Clark Athletic Center.

Walsh registered 20 of his 26 points in the second half to lead four UMass Dartmouth players in double digits in scoring.  Walsh's seven 3-pointers match the conference's single-game standard that was set by Eastern Connecticut's Brian Salzillo most recently against Manhattanville College (Nov. 23, 2013).  The Corsairs guard's continued to spark the Little East's top-ranked offense as junior Jake Laga (Northampton, Mass.) recorded 14 points, while freshman Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Mass.) contributed 13 and seven assists.  Sophomore Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass.) chipped in with 10 points, six rebounds, and two blocks.

Trailing by a point at halftime, UMass Dartmouth (11-5, 4-2 LEC) utilized a 30-8 run to open the second half.  Walsh spearheaded the decisive surge as the rookie knocked down five triples during the key stretch.  Junior Alex Rodrigues (Fall River, Mass.) sandwiched a pair of layups between a Laga jumper to provide the visitors with a game-high 21-point lead (61-40).

The Beacons countered with a 16-4 run of their own to whittle their deficit to nine points with seven minutes, 39 seconds remaining in regulation.  Nick Guerriero fueled the surge with a pair of triples, while Tyquan Ekejiuba and Young added four points each. 

Unfazed by the hosts' momentum, the Corsairs registered nine of the next 12 points to push their lead back to 15 points, capped by a Walsh layup. 

UMass Boston limited UMass Dartmouth to just one field goal over the final five minutes, 34 seconds of the contest and caused four Corsair turnovers.  The Beacons were able to chip into their deficit from the foul line, converting 8-of-10 attempts.  Young thundered home a dunk on the fast break, while Omar Benabicha hit a 3-pointer in transition to trim UMD's advantage to one possession, 76-74, with 31 seconds left on the clock.  The Corsairs thwarted UMB's comeback bid from the charity stripe, connecting on each of their final four attempts.

UMass Dartmouth connected on 50 percent (16-for-32) of its attempts in the second half to raise their shooting percentage to 41 percent (25-for-61) for the game.  The Beacons were held to 37.9 percent (22-for-58) from the field.  The visitors also enjoyed a 42-31 advantage on the boards.

The Corsairs will return to action at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, when UMass Dartmouth hosts Little East foe Plymouth State University.