BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston senior Iser Barnes (Boston, Mass.) stripped the ball out of Jamontay Thompson's hands with 2.2 seconds to play, to preserve the Beacons' 61-57 win over visiting Fisher College in the first game of the 33rd Annual Harbor Invitational.
UMass Boston 61, Fisher College 57
(UMass Boston 3-0)
(Fisher College 3-4)
HOW IT HAPPENED
With 6.7 seconds remaining and the Beacons holding on to a 59-57 lead, Thompson caught the inbounds pass and drove the lane with Barnes all over him. As the Falcons' second leading scorer went to raise the ball and shoot a potential game-tying shot, Barnes stripped the ball out of his hands, off Thompson's knee and out of bounds for the deciding play.
Freshman Charlie Mitchell (Boston, Mass.) knocked down two free throws to ice the game and send the Beacons back to their sixth-straight Harbor Invitational Championship Game.
Senior Kevin Louis-Jean (Hyde Park, Mass.) and freshman Charles Mitchell (Boston, Mass.) were the lone Beacons in double figures with 12 points apiece. Louis-Jean knocked down 6-of-8 shots and grabbed five boards, while Mitchell hit three of the Beacons' six 3-pointers.
Brandon Rembert led the Falcons with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while Malik Tavares and Anthony Kellum chipped in with 12 and 10 points respectively. Mikol Blake-Green led all players with his game-high eight rebounds and three blocks.
Fisher jumped on the Beacons early and raced out to a 6-0 in the opening 1:42. Beacons head coach Jason Harris immediately went to his bench and the Beacons responded. Barnes found Louis-Jean for an easy lay-in and then recorded a lay-up in transition on the next position to get the Beacons into the flow of the game.
The two teams would trade slim leads for the rest of the half, before the Beacons went on a mini run to grab a 29-24 lead with 4:58 to play. Fisher's defense would shut UMass Boston down from there, with Rembert knocking down a late 3-pointer to tie the game at 29 going into the break.
After neither side could create any kind of separation in the opening 6:30 minutes of the second half, UMass Boston used an 11-2 run to grab the largest lead of the game (49-40 with 10:05 left). During the 3:22 span, Charlie and Charles Mitchell combined for the final seven points, with Charles knocking down a 3-pointer to close out the run.
Fisher wouldn't go away though, as they slowly began to chip away at the lead. Tavares knocked down a corner 3-pointer with 3:57 to tie the game at 53, but Charles Mitchell answered with a three of his own at 3:02.
The Falcons tied the game again at 1:29, only to have James Hawkins, Jr. (West Medford, Mass.) give the Beacons the lead back. Off a missed Barnes layup, Charles Mitchell raced for and grabbed the offensive board. His shot was blocked, but the rebound fell to Hawkins who easily knocked down a wide open layup.
Both teams hit 1-of-2 free throws on their next possession, leading to Barnes' huge defensive play.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston earned their sixth-straight trip to the Harbor Invitational Championship Game. The Beacons haven't won since 2012, when the defeated Trinity Coll (Conn.) 76-60. UMass Boston has won eight titles all-time.
- Friday night's meeting was the first-ever matchup between UMass Boston and Fisher College.
- The Beacons took of advantage of 24 Falcons turnovers to earn a 20-10 edge in points off turnovers. On the other side, UMass Boston committed just 10 give aways.
- UMass Boston is 3-0 to start the season for a second-straight year. The Beacons haven't started 4-0 since the 2014-15 season and have never started 4-0 under head coach Jason Harris.
The Beacons will play the winner of Emerson College and Bridgewater State University in the 33rd Annual Harbor Invitational Championship Game on Saturday at 3 p.m.