BOSTON, Mass. – Trailing by as much as 17 points with 8:45 left in the second half, men's basketball (2-4, 0-1 Little East) mounted a hard fought comeback and nearly pulled out the victory in the closing seconds, but the Colonials of Western Connecticut State University (6-1, 1-0 Little East) managed to hang on to earn the 68-65 Little East Conference win Saturday afternoon in the Clark Athletic Center.
Saturday's contest was predicted to be a high-scoring affair as the top-2 scorers in the Little East Conference in the Colonials DaQuan Brooks and UMass Boston's Isaac Jenkins (Pordenone, Italy) faced-off for the first time this season.
Playing a major part in the Beacons late rally was their ability to hit their free throws. After a Mike Caceres (Opa-Locka, Fl.) lay-up got the Colonials lead down to 10, the Beacons would go on to score nine of their final 17 points at the charity strip. Their consistent shooting allowed them to chip away at the Colonials lead uncontested.
Jenkins would make it just a three point game after capping off an and-1 with just 55 seconds left on the clock. Western Connecticut responded with a pair of free throws to make it 66-61. Freshman Quadry Allen (White Castle, La.) would find a lane and put up a lay-up to once again make it just a one possession game.
Forward Mark Redding would then make one of his two free throws to give Western Connecticut some breathing room with 24 seconds left on the clock. On the next Beacons possession, Jenkins did what he does best and that is drive to the basket. Off of a Vinny DeLucia (Miami, Fl.) pass, Jenkins knocked down his final basket of the night to make it 67-65.
Needing to get the ball up the court as quickly as possible, Western Connecticut inbounded the ball from the base-line. They would work the ball over half court, in-which they were instantly fouled by UMass Boston. Gary Robinson gave the Colonials a little room as he went 1-for-2 at the line.
On their final possession of the night, UMass Boston flew up the court. Once they got in their half, they moved the ball around the arc, where it eventually ended up in the hands of DeLucia. The freshman would put up the long distance shot. The ball would hit off the back of the rim and fall into the hands of Robinson, sealing the Colonials victory.
Jenkins closed out Saturday's contest with a game-high 26 points and 14 rebounds. DeLucia finished right behind him with 17 points on 4-of-12 shooting, which included four of the Beacons six 3-pointers. Jenkins recorded the other two long range baskets for UMass Boston. Freshman Cody Edmond (Plaquemine, La.) pulled down nine boards to help the Beacons edge the Colonials in total rebounds 50-48.
Brooks finished with 18 points for the Colonials on 7-of-25 shooting, which included two 3-pointers, and a 2-of-2 showing at the line. Ter'Qwan Perkins was the only other double-figure scorer for Western Connecticut as he finished with 12 points. Robinson was the leader under the basket with his nine boards. The big-man also had seven points and one of the team's five blocks.
Men's basketball returns to action on Tuesday when they host MIT at 7 p.m.