Jan. 31, 2009
GORHAM, ME-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's basketball team made 50 per cent of their shots from the field and defeated host Southern Maine, 81-56, in a Little East Conference game at the Hill Gymnasium Saturday afternoon.
The Corsairs, who came into the game ranked 18th in the latest d3hoops.com poll, scored 10 of the game's first 14 points, then used a 17-7 run to open up a 31-11 advantage with 7:17 remaining. Junior forward V.J. Divine (Brookline, MA/Brookline HS) contributed six points during the latter run with a pair of free throws, a jump shot and a lay-up, while junior forward Matt Walker (Brockton, MA/Brockton HS) and junior guard Tyler Turtoro (Shelton, CT/Shelton HS) each added a pair of lay-ups.
UMass Dartmouth led by 22 points early in the second half, but the Huskies battled back, getting a free throw from Luke Pollock and two three-pointers and a pair of free throws from Andy Tracy to reduce the lead to 57-46 with 9:32 to play. Senior guard Reece Freeman (Cambridge, MA/Cambridge Rindge & Latin HS) sandwiched a pair of lay-ups around a three-pointer by Walker, and UMass Dartmouth led, 65-47 with 7:47 left and wasn't threatened again.
Junior forward Brandon Shelton (Cambridge, MA/Cambridge Rindge & Latin HS/UMass Lowell) led the Corsairs with 17 points, making eight of 16 shots from the field. Walker made seven of 12 shots from the field and scored 16, sophomore forward Brandon Stephens (Dorchester, MA/Newton North HS) contributed 14, and junior guard Jeff Macchi (Franklin, MA/Franklin HS) contributed 10. USM's Tracy led all scorers with 22 points, but he was the only Husky in double figures. He also had seven rebounds. Shelton grabbed eight rebounds and Walker and Stephens each had seven as UMD out rebounded USM, 38-30, and Macchi had four assists and three steals as the Corsairs forced 20 turnovers while committing 11.
"I was very happy with the way we played," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "We played with a lot of energy and poise, and Southern Maine is a team that has lost several close games. We used the press to force turnovers, and we also moved the ball pretty well and got some good passes. We also did a great job in our half court defense. They tried to slow the game down once they got the ball over half court, and we did a good job of defending them."
The Corsairs improved to 17-2 and 8-1 in the Little East Conference with the victory, while the Huskies dropped to 4-15 and 1-8 with the defeat. UMass Dartmouth will return to action when they host Tufts next Wednesday evening.