Feb. 21, 2012
KEENE, NH- Host Keene State jumped out to a 38-24 halftime lead and went on to defeat the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's basketball team, 75-64 , in the first round of the Little East Conference playoffs at Spaulding Gym Tuesday evening.
The Owls scored the first five points of the game and led all the way. Leading 22-16, they went on a 7-2 run near the end of the first half that boosted their advantage to 29-18.
A 9-2 run at the outset of the second half allowed KSC to take a 47-26 lead. The Corsairs rallied, getting a jumper from senior forward Colin Burns (Chepachet, RI/Ponaganset HS/CCRI) and a dunk from senior centers Lance Greene (Dorchester, MA/Charlestown HS/UMass Lowell) to cut the lead to eight points, 55-47, with 10:16 remaining. Freshman guard Jake Laga (Northampton, MA/Northampton HS) hit a jump shot to cut the lead to four points, 57-53, with 7:20 left. But the Corsairs could come no closer, and the Owls preserved their lead, making 10 free throws in the final minutes to hold off the Corsairs.
Greene led UMass Dartmouth with 25 points and 11 rebounds for his 24th double double in 47 games as a Corsair. Burns added 15. Ryan Martin led the Owls with 19 points, Anthony Mariano had 16 and Rashad Wright added 11.
"We battled hard and played tough, but we couldn't pull it off," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "It was a four point game in the second half, and we had four chances to cut the lead, but we couldn't capitalize on them. When we got it down to four, either they stopped us, or we weren't able to score. Our scoring was more of a problem tonight than our defense. They made some tough shots and we didn't. We had some good looks, but our shots weren't going in."
The Corsairs dropped to 13-13 with the defeat, while the Owls improved to 19-7 with the victory. Keene State advances to the semi-finals, and will visit top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State Tuesday evening. The game marked the final action of the season for UMass Dartmouth.
UMASS DARTMOUTH BASKETBALL