December 1, 2011

Men's Basketball Wins Overtime Thriller at Suffolk

BOSTON, Mass. – Less than a week after scoring a career-high 33 points, senior guard Isaac Jenkins (Pordenone, Italy) improved on his career-mark as he scored a combined 39 points to lead men's basketball (2-3) to a 100-98 overtime win at Suffolk University (3-3) Thursday evening.

After Suffolk's Chris Torres tied the game at 87-87 on a buzz-beater 3-pointer, Jenkins took over for the Beacons in overtime, scoring what would be the game-deciding 3-pointer to make it a two possession game with a minute to play on the clock.  Along with a Mike Caceres  (Opa-Lock, Fl.) lay-up, and a free-throw from Jenkins, the Beacons were able to hold off the host Rams to earn their first road-win of the season, and second straight victory.

Jenkins' night was truly something to see, as the Italian native went 12-for-22 from the field, which included a 3-for-6 showing from 3-point range.  At the line, he was just as consistent making 12 of his 16 opportunities.  On the glass eight of his team-high nine boards came on the defensive side of the court, while in 40 minutes of playing time, he also managed three assists and three steals.

Helping to fuel the Beacons run in the opening minutes of the overtime was Vinny DeLucia (Miami, Fl.), who closed out the night with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting.  From distance DeLucia was dangerous all night as he shot 75% (3-for-4). 

Even with the standout showing by Jenkins, the Beacons as a team had one of their best group performances to-date shooting an impressive 47% from the field (37-for-79).  From 3-point range they were 8-of-16, and at the line they closed out the night shooting 18-for-30.  Defensively UMass Boston was also strong forcing 22 Suffolk turnovers, including one at the midway point of the first OT, which led to Jenkins' three.

Suffolk was just as dangerous in Thursday's contest shooting 42% as a team.  The Rams featured a 30-point scorer of their own in Torres who walked away with 32 points.  Behind him was Matt Pepdjonovic who a put together a double-double of 21 points and 23 rebounds. 

The Beacons quickly jumped out in front in the opening minutes of the non-conference showdown.  An early 9-4 run, put UMass Boston in the driver seat, as they held off the Rams offense for most of the first half.  However around the midway point, the Rams managed to battle their way, to take a nine-point lead twice. 

Down, but not out the Beacons rallied and actually tied the game 34-34 with 3:27 left in the half.  Unfortunately a late run by Suffolk would earn them their third nine-point lead of the night, just before the half.

Following the intermission, UMass Boston came out with even more momentum and began to chip away at what was the Rams lead.  In less than five minutes, the Beacons trailed by just one point, and after an exchange of free throws would tie the score at 51-51.  As time continued to count down, both teams would see their leads slip through their fingers, only to get it back moments later on clutch shooting. 

At-most the Beacons would hold a four-point lead up until the eight minute mark.  With a pair of made free throws from Jenkins, a lay-up from Cody Edmond (Plaquemine, La.) and a huge 3-pointer from Yusuke Fukata (Osaka, Japan), UMass Boston quickly jumped out to their largest lead of the night (77-68) with 6:20 left in regulation.

Despite their best efforts that hard-fought lead would once again slip through their fingers and just as time was about to expire on the Rams, Torres threw up the shot of the night which fell through the basket tying the score at 87-all to force the first overtime of the season for the Beacons.

Unfortunately for the Rams, that shot did not diminish the Beacons intensity, as UMass Boston fought for every single second to earn the huge victory.

Men's Basketball returns to action on Saturday when they host Western Connecticut State University at 3 p.m. in the Clark Athletic Center.