By Christopher Cohen, Sports Editor
The men’s basketball team is off to a 14-7 season after securing their second consecutive win, this time on the road against Little East Conference Rival Western Connecticut.
In their previous matchup against Western Connecticut, the Corsairs came out on top 90-77 as first year forward Mert Sert led the Corsairs with 19 points, and the game with 20 total rebounds, including 12 on the defensive glass.
Senior guard Jon Robinson contributed 14 points and three assists in his time on the court; while fellow backcourt senior Abi Akanni aided the Corsairs with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and two steals in his limited 23 minutes of on court action.
Fellow starters Chris Mendes and Atakan Akcam contributed a combined 17 points, with Mendes also leading the Corsairs with six assists to bring the Corsairs starting five scoring total to 61 points.
The Corsairs bench play proved pivotal as they outscored Western Connecticut’s bench 29-12, supplying the necessary boost for an obliterating home court performance.
After besting a 16-3 Tufts 91-82 behind Tucker Bouchard’s 19 points off the bench, the Corsairs were anxious to hit the road and advance passed Western Connecticut once again.
Unfortunately, the same juice that fueled the Corsairs home court success showed up in Western Connecticut’s break bottles and the men kept the game close till the closing minute.
Once more Tucker Bouchard was the man with the magic touch for the Corsairs, providing the game-clinching layup with forty-six seconds remaining in regulation time.
Bouchard led the Corsairs in scoring from the bench once again, totaling 14 points, and grabbing couple rebounds in 27 minutes of game time as a reserve.
A large chunk of those minutes came as a result of assisting an ailing second-year center Nick Portelance. Portelance thrived in his opening season as a Corsair, and in the second victory against Western Connecticut. Portelance grabbed eight rebounds and scored ten points in just fourteen minutes on the court. He even recorded a critical block.
The Corsairs’ Arinze Obiora also contributed ten points and eight rebounds in his twenty-five minutes of court time.
Obiora scored the only successful free throws among Corsair starters on the night against Western Connecticut.
Mert Sert provided his own nine points and fourteen rebounds through twenty-three minutes. The combination of Portelance and Sert will certainly be a pair to watch as the Corsairs program progresses forward.
Chris Mendes had a difficult night shooting, but managed to provide a productive performance that secured the Corsairs success. Mendes finished with seven points on 3-12 shooting after thirty minutes. Despite the shots, Mendes swiped three of the Corsairs six total steals against Western Connecticut.
Although Western Connecticut grabbed ten steals to the Corsairs six, UMass Dartmouth out-rebounded Western Connecticut 58-41, including a 34-24 defensive difference.
Western Connecticut hung around this time because of their consistency shooting while the Corsairs struggled to discover and maintain a consistent shot throughout the game.
Teams hit speed bumps during the season, and fortunately this bump did not cost the Corsairs a league loss. As the Corsairs return home victorious, they prepare to take to the road once more as they continue their Little East Conference contests against Rhode Island College.
The Corsairs will finish their season with back-to-back games at the Tripp Athletic Center against Eastern Connecticut and UMass Boston, before completing the regular season on the road against Southern Maine.