DANBURY, Conn. – The fifth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth made multiple comeback efforts in its Little East Conference quarterfinal quarrel with fourth-seeded Western Connecticut, but Colonial junior Tyler Rowe (East Hartford, Conn.) was too tough of a task to handle as the Corsairs were dealt an 83-75 loss on Tuesday night at Feldman Arena.
Score: Western Connecticut 83, UMass Dartmouth 75
Records: Western Connecticut 14-12 | UMass Dartmouth 12-14
How it Happened
Rowe tallied a game-high 32 points on an efficient 63.2% shooting from the field (12 for 19) including five from distance. Classmate Aaron Samuel (Stratford, Conn.) added in 13 to the scoring total, while freshman Legend Johnson (Waterbury, Conn.) added nine off the bench alongside a team-high seven boards.
For the Corsairs, senior Joshua Imadiyi (Lynn, Mass.) notched his ninth double-double of the season, collecting 14 points and ten missed shot attempts. Also filling up the same pair of categories was junior Arinze Obiora (Lagos, Nigeria) with 20 and 10, respectively, to nab his 15th double-double of the year. Freshman Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) converted on five threes in the contest, totaling a final line of 19 points, six rebounds and a game-high eight assists.
The Colonials jumped out to a 16-9 advantage with 16:04 to go in the first half following junior Rashad Rodriguez's (Trumbull, Conn.) made layup. Imadiyi and junior Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey) each hit threes around a bucket by junior Eli Rodriguez (Bristol, Conn.), bringing the Corsairs within one possession heading into the first media timeout. UMass Dartmouth regained its first lead since the early going with just under eight minutes to go in the half as Ashworth dished a pass to Obiora who finished through contact for the conventional three-point play, placing the visitors up 29-27. After Obiora knocked down a pair of free throws with one minute to go, sophomore Fenton Bradley Jr. (Mansfield, Conn.) inched his group back with a jumper to narrow the gap to two points.
After Obiora nailed another free point from the charity stripe at the 18:39 mark to knot the score at 47, the Corsairs went cold from the field over the ensuing 2:38, going scoreless to allow the hosts to establish a 55-47 lead featuring a run that saw five straight points from Samuel. After a Rodriguez layup at 10:16 put the Colonials up double-digits, 65-54, UMass Dartmouth established offensive consistency to tie the contest back up at 72 apiece as Ashworth and Obiora connected again for another low-post basket. Rowe then took matters into his own hands, scoring the Colonials' next eight points in the final two minutes to punch their ticket to the conference semifinal.
Inside the Numbers
- UMass Dartmouth assisted on 20 of its 27 made field-goals (74.1%), which is its highest assist to field-goal ratio of the year.
- The hosts capitalized off Corsair turnovers, generating 20 points off giveaways.
- Western Connecticut held the slight advantage on the boards, grabbing 46 to the Corsairs' 41.
- The Colonials had fallen in each of the previous six matchups against UMass Dartmouth entering the season, but have turned it around to take three straight on the year.