WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Sophomore Jake Ashworth’s (Fairhaven, Mass.) three-pointer with 14 seconds remaining lifted UMass Dartmouth to a 69-68 Little East Conference men’s basketball victory over Eastern Connecticut Saturday afternoon at Geissler Gym.
A game that featured 13 ties and 18 lead changes saw the visiting Corsairs (14-6, 8-3 LEC) grab the final edge of the contest on Ashworth’s triple, as the host Warriors (16-5, 10-2 LEC) held a 68-66 lead after freshman Seth Thomas (Norwich, Conn.) converted a free throw with 61 seconds to play. Ashworth drained the decisive trey on a feed from freshman Sean Leahy (Hanson, Mass.), as Eastern Connecticut missed a potential game-winning lay-in with seven ticks on the clock and was unable to get off another shot in the final seconds after a missed UMass Dartmouth free throw.
The two squads battled to a 32-32 tie at the break, and neither team led by more than three points at any juncture in the second half. Senior Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey) paced four players in double figures with 16 points and six rebounds for the Corsairs, while fellow senior Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) added 15 points and five boards for the winners. Ashworth finished with 10 points and four caroms for UMass Dartmouth, which received 10 points, six rebounds and three assists from freshman Marcus Azor (Brockton, Mass.).
Leahy scored four points and pulled down four boards for the visitors, who received four points and a team-high nine rebounds from sophomore Harry Alexander (Washington, D.C.) along with four points from freshman Adam Seablom (Lakeville, Mass.). The Corsairs shot 44 percent (26-59) from the field and connected for six three-pointers while holding a 43-30 rebounding advantage that helped produce 15 second chance points, as UMass Dartmouth ended the hosts’ eight-game conference winning streak and pulled to within a game of first place in the league standings.
Sophomore Cory Muckle (Westbrook, Conn.) netted a game-high 19 points in the setback for Eastern Connecticut, which received 16 points and three assists from junior Jake Collagan (Wethersfield, Conn.) along with 14 points and seven rebounds from Thomas. Senior Leonel Hyatt (Greenwich, Conn.) chipped in with nine points and nine caroms for the Warriors, who received eight points, six assists and four rebounds from junior Carlos Gonzalez (Springfield, Mass.). The hosts shot 41 percent (26-63) from the floor overall and canned eight from behind the arc on the afternoon.
UMass Dartmouth heads to Danbury, Conn. on Monday evening for a Little East Conference matchup with Western Connecticut that tips-off at 7:30 pm, while Eastern Connecticut travels to Gorham, Maine on Wednesday evening for a Little East clash with Southern Maine that also tips-off at 7:30 pm.
(Photo Credit: Lyrik Gelmete '21)