By Staff Writer Greg Estabrooks.
This past week, the UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball team won two of their three contests by pulling off a pair of tight wins over Roger Williams and Southern Maine.
On Sunday, November 25th, the Corsairs traveled to Bristol, Rhode Island to take on the Roger Williams University Hawks. UMass Dartmouth was coming off of back-to-back wins against Clark University and Mitchell.
The Corsairs played well in the first half, and were aided by strong guard play from sophomore Jake Ashworth, who scored 13 points in the first two quarters, and went 3-6 from long range.
In the second half, the Hawks battled back and were able to make it a one possession game with just 1:20 left in the contest. But the Corsairs didn’t let the swing in momentum keep them down, as they closed out the contest with clutch free throw shooting. The final score would stand at 72-68 in favor of the Corsairs.
Senior Arinze Obiora dominated on the boards in the contest, and pulled in 11 rebounds to go along with his 12 points. Sophomore Patrick Gavin also acted as a source of efficient scoring off of the bench, as he posted 14 points in just 17 minutes of action. Ashworth finished with a team-high 20 points.
Then on Wednesday, November 28th, the Corsairs sought out their fourth straight win against conference opponent Southern Maine at the Tripp Athletic Center. This game would dramatically be delayed for about a half-hour because of a fire alarm in the building.
The visiting Huskies rushed out to an 18-6 lead during the first five minutes of the contest. However, the Corsairs quickly responded and went on an 18-2 run of their own to grab a four-point lead with about 9 minutes remaining in the half.
The visitors closed out the half strong and took a 37-36 lead to the break. In the second half, UMass Dartmouth gained a 49-43 lead on a lay-up by senior Atakam Akcam, just before the fire alarm sounded.
After play resumed, the lead would change back and forth until eight unanswered Corsair free throws made the score 71-64. But after a 7-0 run by the Huskies which was capped by a lay-in by junior Jayvon Pitts-Young, who was phenomenal in this one and put up 36 points on 13-18 shooting, the score was all even.
Then an Arinze Obiora three-pointer with 1:25 remaining in the contest would give the Corsairs a lead that they would not relinquish. Obiora finished with a team-high 28 points and eight rebounds. The UMass Dartmouth bench strongly contributed to the 82-79 win, as they successfully outscored the Southern Maine bench 22-2.
The Corsairs win streak would be snapped at four, as they went on to lose to Plymouth State on Saturday, December 1st in a high-scoring 90-86 affair. Obiora and Akcam both posted 21 in this one, but they would fall just short in the end.
It was a great week for men’s basketball, and they improved their record to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the Little East Conference. Their next conference game comes against Keene State on December 8th, and it will follow a pair of non-conference games against MIT and Bridgewater State on the 4th and 6th respectively.