PLYMOUTH, N.H. – With a team-high 14 points from freshman Alex Sanchez (Salem, Mass.), men's basketball earned their first Little East Conference Tournament win since 2007 as they defeated the fourth-seeded Panthers of Plymouth State University by the final of 61-57 Tuesday evening at Foley Gymnasium.
#5 UMass Boston 61, #4 Plymouth State University 57
UMass Boston (14-12)
Plymouth State (12-13)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Sanchez would clinch the Beacons victory in the final seconds of regulation after going 2-for-2 at the charity stripe. Dasan Cinelli (Boston, Mass.) would also come-up huge in the closing ticks of Tuesday's conference tournament game, as he put-in a lay-up to make it 59-55 with just eight seconds left.
Plymouth State quickly countered with a lay-up of their own from Mike Osgood, who finished with 12 points on the night.
With the win the Beacons advance to their first semi-final game since the 2007 season. The Beacons will travel to Eastern Connecticut State University, where they will face the top-seeded Warriors on Friday at a time to be determined.
The Beacons bench did a majority of their work in Tuesday's win as they combined for 32 of the team's 61 points. Along with Sanchez, senior Iser Barnes (Boston, Mass.) also finished in double-figures with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field.
Dan Powers (Westwood, Mass.) nearly posted a double-double as the senior forward dropped in 12 points, while finishing with nine rebounds, seven on the defensive glass.
For the Panthers Ernie Johnson led the contest with 15 points, with Jaylen Leroy finishing with 12 points.
In the first half, the Beacons held a slim lead throughout the opening 20 minutes, and eventually went into the break with a 34-25 lead. In the second half, the Panthers would come close to tying the score, but every time the Beacons would respond with a key field goal, to keep the momentum in their favor.
BY THE NUMBERS
- On the night UMass Boston shot 44.4% from the field, 45.5% from 3-point range, and 66.7% from the free throw line
- Plymouth State edged the Beacons on the glass 34-32
- The Beacons last quarterfinal win occurred in 2007 when they defeated Western Connecticut State University by the final of 88-82
- All-time UMass Boston is now 2-3 all-time against Plymouth State in the conference tournament
- The last time UMB earned a conference tournament win over the Panthers was in 1991 when they earned an 87-83 win in the quarterfinal round
- Tuesday's meeting was the first postseason meeting between UMB and PSU since the 2005 season (PSU 112-94)
- Friday's semi-final appearance will be the Beacons sixth in program history, and just the second time UMB and ECSU will have faced each other in the conference semi-final
- It will also be the third time in the last four seasons that UMB and ECSU will face each other in the conference tournament
The Beacons will travel to Eastern Connecticut State University on Friday. The winner of that contest will play on Saturday with the winner of this year's tournament earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.