Jan. 29, 2011
DANBURY, CT- Senior forward Brandon Stephens' (Dorchester, MA/Newton North HS) potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer was ruled a two-pointer as the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's basketball team lost to host Western Connecticut State, 89-88, in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader at Feldman Arena Saturday.
On the final Corsair possession, Stephens made a jumper, but officials ruled that his toe was on the three-point line, resulting in a two-pointer and an 89-88 loss for UMD.
Stephens scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting, with four rebounds and two steals. Junior center Justin Pulver achieved a double-double performance with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Junior guard Alex Klepadlo (Bernardston, MA/Pioneer Valley HS) added 12 points while freshman guard John Genkos (Worcester, MA/Doherty HS) chipped in 11 points off the bench. UMass Dartmouth shot 45.3% (34-of-75) from the field, including 26.1 % (6-of-23) from three-point range and 63.6% (14-of-22) from the free-throw line.
Western Connecticut had four players reach double figures in points in the win. Junior guard DaQuan Brooks (Bristol, CT/Bristol Central HS) led the way with a team-high 19 points, a game-high eight assists, and six rebounds. Senior forward Wilbur Jarrett (Hartford, CT/Hartford Public HS) scored 14 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Junior forward Mark Redding (Waterbury, CT/Holy Cross HS) registered 13 points while sophomore guard Ryan Pelletier (Wolcott, CT/Wolcott HS) notched 12 points, shooting 4-of-7 from three-point range. The Colonials shot 42.9 % (30-of-70) from the floor, including 41.7% (10-of-24) from behind the three-point arc and 79.2% (19-of-24) from the charity stripe.
Western Connecticut jumped out to an early 20-8 advantage behind 11 points from Brooks. Stephens made two free throws to pull UMD within six points, 22-16, with 10:16 left in the first half. A 26-6 run over the next seven minutes, featuring 12 points from Pelletier, pushed the Colonials to their largest lead, 48-22. UMD closed the half on an 8-0 run, making the score 48-32 at the half.
The Corsairs chipped away at a double-digit Colonial lead over the opening ten minutes of the half and a layup by Pulver at the 9:59 mark pulled the Corsairs to within nine points, 67-58. A 13-6 Colonial run regained a double-digit lead, 80-64. Again, the Corsairs whittled their deficit back down to single digits and a three-pointer by Stephens made it 87-82 with 1:02 to play. Four consecutive points by Stephens made it a one point game, 87-86, with 22 seconds left. The Corsairs were forced to foul and on the subsequent free throws, Brooks made 1-of-2, but Stephens missed a jumper on the following possession. UMD fouled again and senior guard David Addy made 1-of-2 free throw attempts, making it 89-86. On the ensuing Corsair possession, Stephens lined up from three-point range and made a jumper, but officials ruled that his toe was on the line, resulting in only a two-pointer and an 89-88 loss for UMD.
"They were up but we came back a little bit at a time," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "We executed nicely at the end of the game, a lot of people contributed at the end, we dug ourselves out of a 20-point deficit and it went right down to the wire," continued Baptiste. "We had the ball with 3.2 seconds left, we executed a play perfectly, Brandon [Stephens] was double teamed and he beat the first guy. He shot the ball and it went in off the backboard but the officials said his toe was on the line, a three would have tied the game."
UMass Dartmouth dropped to 8-12 and 4-5 in the Little East Conference with the defeat, while Western Connecticut improved to 17-2 and 8-1 in LEC play with the victory. The Corsairs will return to action when they host Southern Maine in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader next Saturday. The Colonials will visit Connecticut College Tuesday.
UMASS DARTMOUTH BASKETBALL