NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – After a very tough first half, men's basketball pulled off their biggest second half comeback of the season as they outscored UMass Dartmouth 51-31 over the final 20 minutes of play, which included an 13-3 run in the final three minutes 22 seconds to defeat the Corsairs by the final of 76-74 Wednesday evening at Tripp Athletic Center in a crucial Little East Conference game.
With the victory the Beacons move to 12-11 on the year, 6-7 in the Little East Conference. For the Corsairs they fell to 4-20, 1-12 in the conference following Wednesday's contest.
Now with just one game remaining in the regular season the Beacons have locked-up the fifth place seed in this year's Little East Conference tournament, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, February 19.
In the second half the Beacons were lights out as they shot 51.5% from the floor and 45.5% from 3-point range. Proving to be the biggest factor, especially in the final four minutes was sophomore Vinny DeLucia (Miami, Fla.) as he dropped in three huge 3-pointers, with the third tying the game at 71-71.
From there it was a jumper from Jahleel Moise (Brockton, Mass.) which put the Beacons up by two with 1:45 left on the clock. Yusuke Futkate (Osaka, Japan) made it a 3-point game on his second free throw attempt.
UMD went for the game-tying 3-pointer on their next possession but missed off the front of the rim giving UMass Boston the ball back with 27 seconds left on the clock. The Corsairs then fouled immediately, which sent Rahshjeem Benson (Boston, Mass.) to the line for a pair of free throws, which he made to make a two possession contest.
After a Beacons timeout and a Beacons turnover, the Corsairs were only able to get off one last 3-pointer before time expired, but the last second shot was too little too late as UMB pulled off its second come-from-behind victory of the week.
On the night DeLucia was 4-for-6 from behind the arc and 5-for-12 from the field to finish with 14 points. Bennson led all Beacons scorers with 21 points and managed a team-best eight rebounds. Moise go-ahead jumper in the final seconds of the half was just his third field goal of the night as he finished with seven points.
For the Corsairs, they saw Mike Rotando finish with a game-best 27 points, while John Genkos finished with 24 points in the conference loss. Off the bench Abi Akanni recorded the games only double-double with his 13 points and 11 rebounds. As a team, the Corsairs shot 36.2% from the field and were 12-for-29 from behind the arc.
Men's Basketball will close out the regular season this Saturday at Eastern Connecticut State University when they face the Warriors at 3 p.m.