Eastern Connecticut Sneaks by Men's Basketball in Season Finale
BOSTON, Mass. – In their final game of the 2011-2012 season, men's basketball nearly pulled off the upset of the season as they went toe-to-toe with Little East Conference regular season champions Eastern Connecticut State University. Led by Nick Nedwick's game-high 23 points, the Warriors defeated the host Beacons by the final score of 76-68 Saturday afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center.
With the loss the Beacons close out their season with a 5-20 overall record, 1-13 in the Little East Conference. Eastern Connecticut will host throughout next week's conference tournament as they claimed the program's first-ever regular season crown. They capped off their regular season with a 20-5 overall record, and an 11-3 mark in the Little East Conference.
Combined there were seven lead changes in Saturday's contest. UMass Boston knowing they had nothing to lose gave the Warriors everything they had. With a mere five points separating the two squads at halftime, the Beacons managed to weather an early run by the Warriors. Trailing by as much as 13, UMass Boston with an impressive late run cut Eastern Connecticut's lead down to four with less than three minutes to play.
Helping to fuel the late fire for the Beacons was Vinny DeLucia (Miami, Fla.) who finished with a team-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, three of which were dropped in from behind the arc. Senior Isaac Jenkins (Pordenone, Italy) also contributed to the Beacons late run as he finished with 17 points on the day, while also tallying a team-best six rebounds.
Trailing by four, following a DeLucia and-1, the Beacons came even close to retaking the lead as Mike Caceres (Opa-Locka, Fla.) dropped in his final jumper of the afternoon to make it 70-68 with 2:07 left to play.
On the Warriors next possession, UMass Boston forced the turnover, but just as they were getting to take off down the court they lost control of the ball and gave it right back to Eastern Connecticut. Forced to foul from there on out the Warriors would shoot their way to the seven point victory at the free throw line.
Overall the Beacons as a team had one of their best showings as they shot 50.9% from the field and 42.9% from 3-point range. Eastern Connecticut shot 49.1% from the floor, 40.0% from behind the arc. The Warriors also held a 33-26 advantage on the glass. Kadeem Coulter (Boston, Mass.) and Brian Clarke (Miramar, Fla.) each tallied two blocks.
Prior to the start of Saturday's contest, the Beacons honored their two senior members in Jenkins and Geoff Ebbs. (Hingham, Mass.).