SALEM, Mass. -- Sophomore Marcus Azor (Brockton, Mass.) scored a career-high 24 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists to lead UMass Dartmouth to a 91-87 non-league college men’s basketball victory over Salem State Tuesday evening at Twohig Gymnasium.
The visiting Corsairs (2-0) trailed by 10 points (37-27) with 4:53 remaining in the opening half, but Azor and junior Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) sparked an 18-6 closing run that gave UMass Dartmouth a 45-43 advantage at the break. The host Vikings (1-2) scored seven of the first nine points after intermission to take a three point edge, but the Corsairs answered once again with a 19-6 run over a 7:35 span to take their largest lead of the night (66-58) on sophomore Adam Seablom’s (Lakeville, Mass.) lay-in with 11:35 to play.
The game of runs swung in Salem State’s favor over the next three minutes of action, as a lay-in by junior Alex De La Rosa (Boston, Mass.) capped 12 unanswered points that gave the Vikings a 70-66 cushion. Ashworth’s three-pointer with 4:35 remaining forged a 77-77 tie that Azor broke with a dunk 38 seconds later to give the visitors the lead for good, as UMass Dartmouth extended that margin to seven points with 47 seconds to play on an Ashworth free throw. The hosts made one last run in the closing minute, as a three-pointer by senior Sean Bryan (Lowell, Mass.) and a De La Rosa lay-in closed Salem State’s deficit to one (88-87) with 15 seconds left. The Vikings forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play but returned the favor with five seconds to play, and free throws by Ashworth and sophomore Dhalyn Sanders-Dyer (Worcester, Mass.) iced the Corsairs’ triumph.
Ashworth added 17 points in the win for UMass Dartmouth, which received 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals off the bench from Sanders-Dyer. Seablom chipped in with 12 points and three boards for the visitors, who received 10 points and a career-high 18 rebounds from senior Harry Alexander (Washington, D.C.). The Corsairs shot 45 percent (37-82) from the floor (including six three-pointers) and dished out 19 assists on 37 made field goals on the night.
Bryan recorded a double-double effort of 26 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and four steals in the setback for Salem State, which received a double-double performance of 25 points and 19 boards from senior Hakeem Animashaum (Dedham, Mass.). De La Rosa and sophomore Chris MacDonald (Wakefield, Mass.) were also in double figures with respective scoring totals of 12 and 10 points for the Vikings, who shot 44 percent (34-78) from the field and also canned six from behind the arc.
UMass Dartmouth hosts Husson in opening round play of the 22nd Annual Lafrance Hospitality Tournament on Friday evening at the Tripp Athletic Center that tips-off at 7:00 pm, while Salem State entertains Keene State in a non-league matchup on Saturday afternoon at Twohig Gymnasium that tips-off at 1:00 pm.