Men's Basketball Falls To Western Connecticut, 57-44

Freshman Jake Laga
Freshman Jake Laga

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA - The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's basketball team fell to visiting Western Connecticut State, 57-44, in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader at the Tripp Athletic Center Saturday.

The Corsairs dropped their third straight conference game and have now lost nine of 11 to open the season.

The Corsairs shot just 24.3 percent from the floor in the first half (9-37) compared to 48.1 percent (13-27) by the Colonials. UMD battled hard to stay in the contest, and tied the game at 13 apiece with 12:09 remaining when freshman forward Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, MA/Fitchburg HS) converted an old-fashioned three-point play. Over the final 12 minutes of the half, the Colonials outscored the Corsairs, 19-9, to take a 32-22 lead heading into the break.

In the second half, the Corsairs battled to get back into the game, but were unable to sustain momentum. UMD cut the deficit to as few as nine points with 15:53 remaining when junior forward Eleazar Clayton (Boston, MA/East Boston HS) made a jumper.

The Colonials would respond with a 4-0 run and the Corsairs would not get any closer for the remainder of the contest.

Clayton was the only member of the Corsairs to register double figures with 10 points, while sophomore guard Mike Rotando (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ/Point Pleasant Beach HS) added nine and junior John Genkos (Worcester, MA/Doherty HS) added eight. Senior forward Leroy Mayers (Bronx, NY/Cardinal Hayes HS) led WCSU with 14 points and sophomore forward Joseph Groski (New Milford, CT/Abbott HS) had 11 points and 21 rebounds.

"We missed a lot of easy baskets in the first half and that took the wind out of our sails," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "I thought we played hard, but we needed some momentum and just didn't get it."

UMass Dartmouth fell to 2-9 and 0-3 in the Little East Conference with the loss, while Western Connecticut improved to 3-9 and 1-2 in the LEC with the victory. The Corsairs will return to action when they visit Eastern Connecticut State Tuesday evening in the second half of a Little East Conference doubleheader. The Colonials will host Keene State Tuesday.