By Justin McKinney, Staff Writer
UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball continued surging on Saturday as they downed the Eastern Connecticut State Warriors by a blowout score of 96-70.
Not only was the win a huge statement, but it also created a three way tie atop the Little East Conference with ECSU, Keene State, and of course UMass Dartmouth.
It seemed as though the Corsairs were destined to run away with this game as the only point the game was even close was the first minutes after tip-off.
In the opening minutes the score was knotted up at 4-4. However, the Corsairs caught fire though and dropped ten unanswered points to go up 14-4.
Strong defense continued to stifle the Warriors as offensively they could just not find a way to thwart the Corsairs strong and relentless attack. While the Warriors were able to find a few spare buckets here and there, they just could not keep up.
The Corsairs were constantly finding themselves going on six and seven to zero runs throughout the first half making it practically impossible for the Warriors to even dream of gaining a lead.
The Warriors defense also had almost no way of stopping the Corsairs in the first half as they shot a stifling 22 for 38, an unprecedented 57 percent.
It did not matter how hard the Warriors pressed, the Corsairs just sank the shot or finished the lay-up. It was child’s play as the Warriors looked like a high school team defensively.
The Corsairs also dominated the paint as they had nine more rebounds than the Warriors in the first half, and twenty more boards in the entire game.
Freshmen Mert Sert of Istanbul, Turkey had a monster day for the Corsairs as he grabbed a double-double. Sert posted sixteen points and fifteen rebounds, a whopping 30 percent of the Corsairs rebound totals.
While the Corsairs shooting game evidently had a huge part of their success, I would argue that it truly was the 51 total rebounds and the fact that the Corsairs had 20 more than the Warriors that gave them such a big win.
These extra boards took opportunity from the Warriors and put them in the Corsairs hands where they evidently capitalized as they shot a clutch 52 percent from the field.
As if that weren’t enough the Corsairs bench had a fantastic day adding 33 points.
This is huge considering that the Corsairs are playoff bound. If they can count on their bench players to produce then their starters can subsequently rest.
With the season going into its ladder stages and the possibility of a NCAA tourney very real for the Corsairs, it is extremely important to rest their starters.
Starters Jon Robinson and Chris Mendes had monstrous games as Robinson snagged 15 points and Mendes dropped 19.
Mendes was also four for six from three point range.
UMass Dartmouth was also unbelievably accurate from beyond the three point arc as they went eleven for seventeen, for 64.7 percent three-point shooting percentage.
The Corsairs will resume play on Wednesday against UMass Boston and finish their regular season against Southern Maine on Saturday.