WESTWEGO, Louisiana – With just seven seconds remaining on the clock a made free throw by Quadry Allen (White Castle, La.), and then a huge defensive stop by the Beacons capped off a last minute rally as men's basketball defeated Eastern University by the final score of 62-61 on the first day of the 2011 Big Easy Challenge in New Orleans, Louisiana.
With the Beacons trailing by four with 1:25 left in the second half, Mike Caceres (Opa-Locka, Fla.) nailed a huge 3-pointer to make it just a one point game. After a slew of missed shots by both teams, freshman big-man Brian Clarke (Miramar, Fla.) was fouled 16 seconds on the clock, and was sent to the free-throw line. Clarke, who was named the Little East Conference Rookie of the Week on December 12 went 1-for-2 to tie the game at 61-all.
On Eastern's next possession, Vinny DeLucia (Miami, Fla.) would battle Martin Soaries for the ball and would eventually force Soaries to turn the ball over with less than 10 seconds to play in regulation. Mitch Singer would then foul Allen sending him to the line to shoot two shots. Allen missed the first attempt, but nailed the second to make it 62-61.
The Eagles would inbound the ball in what would be their final possession of the afternoon and quickly got it up the court. Alex Nelson would take the Eagle's first of two attempts from behind the arc. His shot would hit off the rim and land in the hands of his teammate Collin Whipple. Whipple pulled the ball out and threw up a three of his own, with it too hitting the rim just as time expired.
Allen's game-winner at the charity strip capped off a nine point night for the freshman. Senior Isaac Jenkins (Pordenone, Italy) finished with a team-high 12 points, while Caceres came off the bench to knock down 11 points of his own. DeLucia and Clarke each totaled nine points to help out the Beacons starting five, and also had five rebounds as well.
As a team the Beacons were solid from the floor shooting 45.1% (23-for-51). Eastern University ended their night shooting 36.5% (23-for-63), with Nelson scoring a game-high 16 points. Nelson also managed a game-best nine rebounds (5 off, 4 def).
UMass Boston's bench also played a major part in Thursday's non-conference win as they combined for 27 points, while Eastern's bench managed just nine points.
Men's Basketball returns to action tomorrow when they face Colorado College at 8 p.m. central standard time.