Men's Basketball Stumbles Against Eastern Connecticut

Men's Basketball Stumbles Against Eastern Connecticut

Feb. 12, 2011

Final Stats

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's basketball team fell to visiting Eastern Connecticut State, 79-76, in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader at the Tripp Athletic Center Saturday.

UMass Dartmouth was led offensively by senior forward Brandon Stephens (Dorchester, MA/Newton North HS) with a game-high 21 points, shooting 7-of-15 from the floor and 3-of-5 from three-point range. Junior guards Paul Rose (Boston, MA/No. Cambridge Catholic HS/Mass Bay CC) and Alex Klepadlo (Bernardston, MA/Pioneer Valley HS) chipped in 13 points and Rose also had a game-high eight assists. Junior center Justin Pulver (Plymouth, MA/Falmouth HS/Johnson & Wales) scored 10 points with four rebounds in the loss. UMD shot 51.7% (30-of-58) from the field, including 35% (7-of-20) from three-point range and 69.2% (9-of-13) from the free-throw line.

Eastern Connecticut had four players in double figures in the game. Junior guard Nick Nedwick (Irvington, NY/Irvington HS) netted a team-high 20 points with six rebounds and six assists. Senior center Broderick Sawyer (Norwalk, CT/Brien McMahon HS) scored 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting, with five rebounds. Junior guard Jamie Kohn (Columbia, CT/Coventry HS) added 16 points while sophomore center Chris Robitaille (Canton, CT/Canton HS) registered 13 points and five rebounds off the bench. ECSU shot 52.5% (31-of-59) from the floor, including 44.4% (4-of-9) from behind the three-point arc and 56.5% (13-of-23) from the free throw stripe.

With 15:51 to play in the first half, Eastern Connecticut jumped out to a 12-2 lead behind three-pointers by Nedwick and sophomore guard Joe Ives (Avon, CT/Avon HS). The Corsairs executed a 19-10 run over the next eight minutes and a layup by freshman center Kadeem Wint (Dorchester, MA/Boston Trinity Academy) gave UMD its first lead, 23-22, with 7:22 remaining in the half. The Warriors jumped back ahead with an 8-0 run, fueled by five points from Nedwick. The Corsairs outscored the Warriors 12-5 to close out the second half, making the score 36-35 ECSU at the break.

The Corsairs opened the second half on a 9-3 run, to regain a 44-39 lead with 17:15 to play. A layup by Sawyer put the Warriors back up, 45-44, but Stephens answered with a three-pointer on the subsequent Corsair possession, taking back a 47-45 advantage. The teams played back-and-forth action over the next eight minutes and another three-pointer by Stephens tied the game at 61-61 with 7:09 on the clock. The final eight minutes featured five ties and the highest lead was only five points, 70-65, in favor of ECSU with 5:24 to play. The teams jockeyed for the lead on the free throw line, with the lead changing hands five times in a two-minute span. With 1:07 on the clock, Sawyer converted a layup, putting Eastern Connecticut up 75-74. Two free throws pushed the Warrior lead to 77-74. On their final possession, the Corsairs tried to get an open three-point look but the Warriors prevented that, forcing the Corsairs to settle for a layup by Paul Rose. On the ensuing inbound pass, Nedwick caught a long pass in Corsair territory and streaked for an uncontested layup, securing the 79-76 victory for Eastern Connecticut.

"The kids played well and they played hard," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "We didn't have an answer for [Sawyer] in the paint, every time they needed a basket they went to him and he got it. I would've liked to have seen more contribution from our bench. Offensively, we didn't force things, we took shots as they came and we ran the offense well."

UMass Dartmouth dropped to 10-13 and 6-6 in the Little East Conference with the defeat, while Eastern Connecticut improved to 16-7 and 9-3 in LEC play with the victory. The Corsairs will return to action when they visit Rhode Island College in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader Tuesday evening. The Warriors will visit Western Connecticut Tuesday.