BOSTON, Mass. – After a tough first half, the third-seeded Beacons rallied in a huge way in the second, as they shot an impressive 61.5% from the field to complete the come-from-behind win over the sixth-seeded Anchormen of Rhode Island College in the first round of the 2018 Little East Conference Tournament Tuesday evening at the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium.
#3 UMass Boston 73, #6 Rhode Island College 67
UMass Boston (16-10)
Rhode Island College (8-18)
HOW IT HAPPENED
A 12-2 run to open the second half, coupled with an 11-6 run to finish out the final two minutes lifted the Beacons past the Anchormen in Tuesday's first round game. With the win the Beacons advance to their second straight Little East Conference Tournament semi-final, which will be played this Friday at Eastern Connecticut State University. The Beacons will face the second-seeded Owls of Keene State College at 7:30 p.m. in Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
After scoring just 24 first half points on a mere 9-of-34 shooting from the field, the Beacons woke-up offensively over the final stanza. Over the final half, the Beacons were red-hot going 16-for-26 from the field, which included three 3-pointers. However, it was an impressive display of free throw shooting over the final closing minutes that proved to be the deciding factor. In the second half the Beacons were 14-for-18 from the charity stripe. UMB also dominated on the glass in the second half as they outrebounded the Anchormen a one-sided 21-10.
Michael Boyd (Malden, Mass.), who struggled from every part of the floor in the first half, erupted for a second half high 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Boyd, who was lights out from behind the arc on Saturday, struggled from deep all night. So, to counter that performance, Boyd became the Beacons to shooter in the paint to help catapult his team to the crucial win.
Also having a big second half, was Charles Mitchell (Boston, Mass.) who dropped in 13 points, while also grabbing eight boards to complete his double of 19 and 13. Dasan Cinelli (Boston, Mass.) also overcame a slow start to finish with 13 points and eight boards, while senior Iser Barnes (Boston, Mass.) dropped in 12 points in his final home contest in the Clark Gymnasium.
The turnover point in Thursday's contest began at the 15:58 mark, when Charles Mitchell drained a huge 3-pointer to give the Beacons their first lead of the night (36-35). Rhode Island College would try to regain control, but UMB responded immediately with a 12-4 run to push their lead to seven (48-41) with 9:45 left in regulation.
Rhode Island College, managed to cut the Beacons lead back to one with a 6-0 surge, but they were never able to regain the lead. The Beacons would continue to look to the trio of Boyd, Charles Mitchell and Cinelli in the final minutes of the second.
The Anchormen's final push came with less than four to play when they cut the Beacons lead back down to one (60-59). A lay-up from Barnes made it a three-point affair with 1:51 to play. CJ Donaldson then went 1-for-2 at the line, but that was it for the Anchormen. From there UMB sealed the win at the free throw line as UMB finished 11-for-13 to secure the win.
BY THE NUMBERS
- With the win the Beacons have now won a program-best six straight over the Anchormen
- UMB improved to 3-0 against RIC in the Little East Tournament, having won tournament games in 2006 (76-70) and 1995 (71-68)
- The Beacons trip to the LEC semi-final round is the second in the first three seasons for head coach Jason Harris
- Mitchell's double-double was the first of his college career
- On the night the Beacons finished shooting 41.7% from the field (25-60) and 73.9% from the free throw line (17-23)
- UMass dominated the glass as they finished with a +12 (41-31)
- The back-to-back appearances in the Little East Tournament has happened just one other time in program history (2005-06, 2006-07)
- Adham Floyd led the Anchormen with 21 points, while CJ Donaldson finished with 10 assists and seven points
The Beacons will face #2 Keene State College on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Little East Conference Tournament semi-final round at top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University.