DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Corsair freshman forward Sean Leahy (Hanson, Mass.) generated a game-high 19 points to lead five hosts in double-figures as the No. 3 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth produced an 83-65 Little East quarterfinal win over No. 6 Plymouth State at the Tripp Athletic Center on Tuesday evening. Blue and Gold senior Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey) collected his fourth double-double of the season, netting 10 points and grabbing 10 boards while adding four steals to his line.
How It Happened
- UMass Dartmouth had its foot firm on the gas to dominate the opening segment of the postseason clash as the Blue and Gold raced out to a 14-4 lead ahead of the first media timeout. The mandated breakage had no ill effects on the hosts, who placed the cherry on top of an early 7-0 run via freshman Marcus Azor’s (Brockton, Mass.) steal on one end for a two-handed slam on the other.
- After whittling the deficit down to 10 with 4:25 remaining in the first, Plymouth State freshman Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) strung together four straight points to make it a 25-19 affair. The Corsairs quickly restored the double-digit advantage, however, on a rapid 8-0 run that saw freshman Adam Seablom’s (Lakeville, Mass.) pair of buckets bookend two heads-up touch passes from freshman Dhalyn Sanders-Dyer (Worcester, Mass.) over to senior Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) under the cup.
- Host sophomore Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) matched his first half three-point total in the opening minutes of the second, drilling a pair to notch his ensemble a 43-29 lead. Moments later, a corner trey by sophomore Patrick Gavin (Beverly, Mass.) capped off an 8-0 run to afford UMass Dartmouth a 58-43 advantage.
- Leahy earned an easy layup after stripping the ball away from junior guard Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) before registering the one-handed lefty put back off of a missed field goal to give the squad its biggest lead of the evening (23) with 4:32 to go.
Inside the Numbers
- Azor nabbed a season-high five steals on defense.
- The Corsairs turned 23 Panther miscues into 27 scores.
- Seablom poured in 10 points off the bench.
- UMass Dartmouth shot it at a 43.8% clip (14-32) in the first 20 minutes, bettering Plymouth State’s rate of 32% (8-25). Each side combined for 30 turnovers in the half.
- After submitting a well-rounded performance in the Panthers’ Dec. 1 victory over the Corsairs at the Tripp earlier this season (11 points, 10 assists, four steals), freshman facilitator Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) was restricted to zero points, one assist and one swipe in the first frame.
No. 3 UMass Dartmouth advances to the Little East semifinals and will travel to Keene State for a 7:30 p.m. matchup against No. 2 Eastern Connecticut.
(Recap By Kyle Diangkinay '19, Athletic Communications Graduate Assistant)
(Photo Credit: Rainier Almonte '19)