BOSTON, Mass. – Down by four with less than two minutes to play, freshman Quadry Allen (White Castle, La.) would score five straight points to give men's basketball at 53-52 lead. Moments later, Mike Caceres (Opa-Locka, Fla.) would deliver on lay-up and a free throw, and Carl Joseph (Brockton, Mass.) would seal the win at the line as UMass Boston (5-8, 1-3 Little East) rallied to defeat Plymouth State University (4-8, 0-4 Little East) by the final score of 57-52 Tuesday evening in the Clark Athletic Center.
After trailing by three at the half, UMass and Plymouth State would spend the final 20 minutes of play battling for every crucial basket. When it nearly looked as if though the Panthers were going to run away with the win, the resilient Beacons fought their way back to cut what was a nine point lead down to one with just over 13 minutes left in regulation.
From there the two teams would never see more than an three point lead on the scoreboard, and would exchange control of it a total of seven times over the last 11 minutes of play. A majority of the point scoring in the crucial minutes was done at the free throw line, with perhaps the game-changing free throws coming from Caceres following a foul and technical foul call that sent him to the line for four shots.
Showing total control, the freshman went 4-for-4 at the line, which at the time tied the score at 37-37. Brian Clarke (Miramar, Fla.) then gave UMass the lead on a pair of free throws of his own just seconds later.
Following a Petey Skevas jumper that tied it at 39-39, the next two minutes of play would be a see-saw exchange between the two squads. Allen gave the Beacons their largest lead up until the final two minutes when he nailed a deep 3-pointer right in front of his bench.
That lead would last just seconds as Plymouth State received a 3-pointer from Brian Chergey. Chergey, along with Skevas gave the Panthers a late push and helped them to take a 52-48 lead over UMass Boston.
Needing a huge basket, the Beacons set-up Allen again for a 3-pointer which he delivered on after two missed attempts. A missed lay-up on Plymouth State's next possession would eventually result in a pair of made free throws by Allen with 1:32 left on the clock. His first made free throw tied the game at 52-52, while his second gave the Beacons their final lead of the night 53-52.
Plymouth State quickly turned to Chergey on their next possession, but was unable to get the same result, as Vinny DeLucia (Miami, Fla.) picked-up the defensive rebound. With the ball in his hand, the freshman flew up the court where he found a wide-open Caceres who laid it in for two more points.
Knowing that the pressure was on, Plymouth State tried to make a big play, but were never able to get on the same page as they turned the ball over twice with less than a minute to play. Caceres and Joseph would each go 1-for-2 at the line to help the Beacons record the five-point victory.
On the night, Caceres dropped in 13 points to lead the Beacons starting five. Allen, who did not play in the first half scored all 10 of his points in the second half. Joseph finished with nine points in the contest, and led the defense along with "big man" Kadeem Coulter (Boston, Mass.) with a combined six of the team's nine blocks respectively. Caceres also finished with game-high nine rebounds.
Chergey closed out Tuesday's conference game with a game-best 19 points, while Kyle Walker came off the bench to finish second on the team with 10 points. Skevas was the Panthers go-to player on both sides of the court as he finished with eight points, seven boards, six assists, two steals, and one block in 30 minutes of action.
Men's Basketball returns to action on Thursday when they travel to Bridgewater State University for a 5:30 p.m. non-conference game.