DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Senior Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) recorded a double-double effort of 25 points and 18 rebounds as UMass Dartmouth overcame a 13-point first half deficit to notch a 70-66 Little East Conference men’s basketball victory over UMass Boston Saturday afternoon at the Tripp Athletic Center.
The host Corsairs (9-4, 3-1 LEC), who extended their winning streak to five straight with the triumph, scored the first four points of the contest before the visiting Beacons (6-6, 1-4 LEC) netted 16 unanswered points in a 4:25 span to take a 12-point cushion on junior Alex Sanchez’s (Salem, Mass.) lay-in with 12:13 remaining in the opening frame. UMass Boston maintained a double-digit edge until a three-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half by sophomore Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) enabled UMass Dartmouth to close back to within seven (30-23) at the break, and Obiora scored the hosts’ first 10 points after intermission to slice that deficit to one (34-33) with 15:24 to play in the contest.
The Beacons responded to Obiora’s surge by scoring 10 of the game’s next 12 points to take a nine-point lead (44-35) on a pair of free throws from sophomore Charles Mitchell (Boston, Mass.) with 12:13 remaining, but the Corsairs countered with a 13-4 run of their own over a four minute stretch to even matters at 48-48 on freshman Sean Leahy’s (Hanson, Mass.) jumper with 8:06 to go. UMass Boston fought back to take a five-point advantage on its next two possessions, but UMass Dartmouth responded with a 10-3 run in less than four minutes to take a 58-56 edge on Obiora’s lay-in with 2:16 to play. The visitors forged the final tie of the afternoon on free throws by junior Dasan Cinelli (Boston, Mass.) with 99 seconds remaining, but Leahy gave the hosts the lead for good on a free throw 19 seconds later, as the Corsairs extended that margin to five on lay-ins by Obiora and freshman Marcus Azor (Brockton, Mass.). The Beacons pulled to within two on a pair of occasions in the closing 27 seconds of action, but free throws from Obiora, Azor, Leahy and freshman Adam Seablom (Lakeville, Mass.) iced the UMass Dartmouth triumph.
Leahy added 13 points and six rebounds in the win for the Corsairs, who received 11 points, four assists and three steals from Seablom along with eight points and seven assists from Azor. Ashworth finished with seven points and three assists for the hosts, who received six boards and four steals from senior Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey) along with four points and three caroms from junior Marquis Jones (Randolph, Mass.). UMass Dartmouth shot 40 percent (26-65) from the field overall and converted 14 offensive rebounds into 12 second chance points for the contest, as the Corsairs held a 44-36 overall rebounding advantage on the afternoon.
Sanchez netted 17 points and three assists in the setback for UMass Boston, which received 12 pints from sophomore Michael Boyd (Malden, Mass.) along with 11 points and three assists from Charles Mitchell. Cinelli collected nine points and six boards for the Beacons, who also received nine points from sophomore Charlie Mitchell (Boston, Mass.) as well as six points, 14 rebounds and a pair of blocks from freshman Malik Lorquet (Sharon, Mass.). The visitors shot 42 percent (25-60) from the field and connected for six three-pointers for the contest.
UMass Dartmouth travels to Providence, R.I. on Tuesday evening to take on Rhode Island College in a Little East Conference clash that tips-off at 7:30 pm, while UMass Boston heads to Medford, Mass. on Tuesday evening to take on Tufts in a non-league outing that tips-off at 7:00 pm.
(Photo Credit: Lyrik Gelmete '21)