Men's Basketball: Warriors Weather Early UMD Charge, Stretch Little East Home Streak

Junior guard Jaysen Nuñez navigates around UMass Dartmouth's Brandon Bousquet in the final minutes of Eastern's 101-77 Little East Conference victory Wednesday evening at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. The win was the 33rd straight LEC regular-season home win for the Warriors.
Junior guard Jaysen Nuñez navigates around UMass Dartmouth's Brandon Bousquet in the final minutes of Eastern's 101-77 Little East Conference victory Wednesday evening at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. The win was the 33rd straight LEC regular-season home win for the Warriors.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth converted nine of 11 three-point field goals in the first half but was only 3-of-12 from long distance after the break as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team rode a 56-point second half to a 101-77 Little East Conference victory over the Corsairs Wednesday evening at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

Ranked 24th nationally, Eastern (12-2, 4-0 LEC) defeated UMass Dartmouth (9-5, 2-2 LEC) for the 16th time in the last 18 meetings in recording its 33rd consecutive LEC regular-season home victory over four years. The Warriors, four-time defending LEC regular-season champs, retained a share of the LEC lead with Keene State College.

Eastern led by 11 points early but UMD's sharp-shooting from three-point range pushed them into a two-point lead with six minutes left in the first half. The Warriors used a 9-0 run to break a tie with just over four minutes left in the first half and take a 45-39 halftime lead.

While the Corsairs were spectacular from three-point range in the first half, Eastern was steady in both, sinking five of 11 in the first half and five of ten in the second on the way to an overall field goal percentage of 55.2.

Senior guard Kendall Marquez (Willimantic) paced four Eastern double-digit scorers with a game-high 20 points, senior forward Tarchee Brown (Rockville) adding 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists, sophomore guard Carlos Gonzalez (Springfield, MA) 15 points, six assists, five steals and three rebounds, and junior forward Leonel Hyatt (Greenwich) scoring ten points and pulling down a career-high 11 rebounds.

While the Warriors were miserable from the foul line (17-of-33), they turned the ball over only 12 times and outrebounded the Corsairs, 41-35.

Freshman guards Nick Bond and Jake Ashworth  each had 14 points for UMD, which lost for the first time in its last four games. Sophomore guard Brandon Williams  added 12 points and junior forward Arinze Obiora 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds.  Senior forward Joshua Imadiyi chipped in nine points, eight rebounds and three blocks for the Corsairs. Williams and Ashworth combined to go 6-of-7 from three-point range.

At left: Jake McCarthy denies Marquis Jones of UMass Dartmouth for the second of his two blocked shots in the second half of Wednesday's 101-77 Little East Conference victory. In five minutes, McCarthy also hit both of his shots and grabbed two rebounds in the team's 33rd consecutive LEC regular-season home victory. (Photo by Nick McEnany)

Marquez moved to within 56 points of 1,000 in his four-year collegiate career, having scored 399 at Eastern after a two-year total of 545 points at Western Connecticut.

Eastern and UMD rank 1-2 in the LEC in offense, with Eastern also the top defensive club.

Eastern visits the University of Southern Maine Saturday at 3 p.m. in a Little East contest.