BOSTON, Mass. – Led by a dominating performance from junior Rahshjeem Benson (Boston, Mass.), which consisted of 14 points and a game-high 24 rebounds, men's basketball ended their four-game skid in a big way as they defeated the University of Southern Maine by the final of 69-55 Tuesday evening in a Little East Conference match-up at the Clark Athletic Center Gym.
With the victory, the Beacons who are currently sixth in the conference standings improved to 10-11 overall, 4-7 in the Little East. The 10 wins, marks the first for UMB since the 2005-06 season, in which they won the program's first conference tournament crown. For the Huskies the loss marks the second straight in conference play and drops their record to 13-9, 7-4 in the LEC.
For Benson, his night consisted of 6-of-14 shooting from the field, and his career best 24 boards. Tuesday's performance was just one board shy of tying the single game rebound record set by Jim Davis on December 17, 1985. Eighteen of his rebounds came on the defensive glass, while six were earned on the offensive side of the floor. The big-man also blocked four shots and handed out three assists.
Sophomore Vinny DeLucia (Miami, Fla.) got back to his scoring ways as he dropped in a game-high 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, which included three 3-pointers. Forward Brian Clarke (Miramar, Fla.) also had a strong game with his double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds and one block.
As a team, the Beacons shot over 42% in both halves to close out the night 26-for-56 overall (46.4%). They also hit their groove from behind the arc as they shot 40.0% (6-for-15). The Beacons biggest half had to be the second when they used a 15-for-30 performance to completely take control of the contest.
Holding a slim two point lead (26-24) at the break, the Beacons stepped back on the hardwood in the second half and outscored their conference opponent 43-31. UMass Boston wasted little time gaining some breathing room between them and Huskies as they went on 18-6 run in the first seven minutes to extend their lead to 14 (44-30).
The Beacons would continue to pour on the baskets and would see some aggressive play from their big-men in the paint. Benson was responsible for a couple of huge dunks along with freshman forward Jahleel Moise (Brockton, Mass.). Moise also dropped in 14 points in Tuesday's win and had three boards and one block. Clarke, who along with Benson played a major part in the early run in the second, closed out the final half with nine points and seven rebounds, while Benson posted 10 points and an incredible 19 rebounds.
Southern Maine saw Brandon Tomah and Conor Sullivan each finish with 13 points. Conference scoring leader Alex Kee, who came into the game averaging 15.3 points per game, was held to a mere four points on the night, and just one free throw in the second half. The Beacons defense was especially overwhelming as the Huskies shot 27.3% from the floor and 7.1% from 3-point range in the final 20 minutes of play.
Men's Basketball returns to action on Saturday when they host Plymouth State University at 3 p.m. Prior to the start of the contest senior members Mike Mitchell, Jr. (Dorchester, Mass.) and Yusuke Fukata (Osaka, Japan) will be recognized by their coaches and teammates.