Dec. 5, 2009
PLYMOUTH, NH-Senior forward Brandon Shelton (Cambridge, MA/Cambridge Rindge & Latin HS/UMass Lowell) hit the tie-breaking shot with 12 seconds remaining and added two free throws with 1.9 seconds left to help the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's basketball team hold off host Plymouth State, 67-63, in the Little East Conference opener for both teams at Foley Gymnasium Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers, who led by six points with 8:17 remaining, came from behind to tie the game at 63 when Mike Chergey hit a three-pointer with 39 seconds remaining. UMass Dartmouth called time out, and got the ball to Shelton for his decisive shot.
"We waned to give him the ball on the block, and let him go one-on-one with his man," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "We had our perimeter guys going to the basket, but they didn't double down on him, so he just went one-on-one. When they came down, we challenged their shot, and got a stop. We did a good job on both ends when the game was on the line."
The Corsairs jumped out to a 21-10 lead midway through the first half, but PSU battled back, scoring 11 of the next 12 points to make it 22-21 with 6:09 left before halftime. A layup by senior forward Matt Walker (Brockton, MA/Brockton HS) made it 30-25, UMD, with 3:39 remaining, but Ryan Lambert hit a layup and Chergey connected on a jumper to cut the lead to a single point before a jump shot by sophomore guard Steve Ramos (Lynn, MA/Hebron Academy/Franklin Pierce) with 43 seconds left gave the Corsairs a 32-29 lead at halftime.
The teams stayed within a few points of each other for most of the second half. Senior guard Jeff Macchi (Franklin, MA/Franklin HS) connected on a layup with 3:39 left to break a 57-57 tie and give UMD a two-point lead. After each team hit a pair of free throws, Macchi's layup made it 63-59 with 2:09 to play. Justin Hojlo's free throw with 1:13 remaining made it 63-60, setting the stage for Chergey's tying trey and Shelton's success down the stretch.
"They are a physical team," said Baptiste. "They have a lot of big bodies, and they work hard at getting the ball inside. We were able to turn them over a lot, and that was a key to our win."
Walker led the Corsairs with 16 points, junior forward Brandon Stephens (Dorchester, MA/Newton North HS) added 13, and Shelton had 10. Chergey led all scorers with 20 points, and Lambert added 18. Lambert had eight rebounds, while sophomore center Lance Greene (Dorchester, MA/Charlestown HS/UMass Lowell) had seven for the Corsairs as PSU won the rebound battle, 37-28. But UMD forced 25 turnovers while committing 19.
"Matt played well, he gave us a lot of quality minutes," said Baptiste. "We used 11 players, and everybody contributed."
The Corsairs improved to 5-1 with the victory, while the Panthers dropped to 4-2 with the defeat. UMass Dartmouth will return to action when they visit Worcester State Tuesday evening.