Jan. 14, 2009
WILLIMANTIC, CT-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's basketball team grabbed an early 10-point lead, took a 42-31 advantage into the locker room at halftime and went on to defeat host Eastern Connecticut State, 81-64, in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader at Geissler Gymnasium Tuesday evening.
The Corsairs, who took the lead for good with 15:53 remaining in the first half on a lay-up by junior forward Brandon Shelton (Cambridge, MA/Cambridge Rindge & Latin HS/UMass Lowell) that ignited an 11-0 run, got a pair of lay-ups from junior guard Jeff Macchi (Franklin, MA/Franklin HS), and lay-ups from Shelton and junior forward V.J. Divine (Brookline, MA/Brookline HS) to lead, 16-6, with 13:17 remaining in the first half.
The Warriors rallied, and Hamilton Levy's three-pointer cut the lead to 27-20 with 6:20 left in the first half. But an 11-2 UMD run made it 38-22 with 2:57 to play before halftime.
The Corsairs began the second half with a 14-4 run, and they never led by less than 14 points again.
"We got out to a lead because our press was effective, then they solved our press, and we had to make a few adjustments," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "Brandon Shelton had a good game offensively, we had three guys in double figures, and we did a great job rebounding the ball, Eastern Connecticut was leading the conference in rebounds, and we out rebounded them. We also forced 18 turnovers, which helped us get our lead, and maintain it."
Shelton scored 17 points in the first half, and finished with 24 points to lead all scorers. Junior forward Matt Walker (Brockton, MA/Brockton HS) added 12 points, while sophomore forward Brandon Stephens (Dorchester, MA/Newton North HS) added 11. Levy led ECSU with 15 points, while Broderick Sawyer added 10. Shelton made 11 of 21 shots from the field, and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Corsairs won the battle of the boards, 44-36. Macchi had four of UMD's 12 steals.
The Corsairs won for the eighth consecutive time and improved to 12-1 and 4-0 in the Little East Conference with the victory, while the Warriors dropped to 7-7 and 2-2 with the defeat. UMass Dartmouth will return to action when they host Plymouth State in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader Saturday.