BOSTON, Mass. - The men's basketball team got their 2014 off to a good start as they managed to use a strong inside game to take down the Chargers of Colby-Sawyer College by the final of 79-68 Saturday afternoon in the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium.
With Saturday's win the Beacons ended a four game skid to improve their overall record to 4-5. The victory ended the Chargers three game win streak as they fell to 4-5 on the year.
Of UMass Boston's 79 points, 44 of them came in the paint with junior Carl Joseph (Brockton, Mass.) leading all scorers with 24 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Behind him Gregory Young (Boston, Mass.) totaled a career-high 23 points and grabbed nine boards. The duo also managed four blocks and seven steals respectively.
Omar Benabicha (Saugus, Mass.) put together his best performance to date scoring 14 points, while also handing out six assists and picking up four steals. On the glass the sophomore grabbed six rebounds and helped the Beacons shoot an impressive 47.6% (30-63) from the field.
After a slow start in the opening minutes the Beacons finally found their legs when they went on a 12-0 run to take a 24-19 lead. They would then extend their lead to double-figures (36-24) following a quick 10-2 run. Unfortunately, the Chargers would score 11 of the final 14 points to cut into the Beacons lead making it a four point game going into the halftime break.
Through the first 20 minutes action UMass shot 50.0% from the floor as they went 17-for-34. Benabicha played a huge part in the Beacons early run scoring 11 of his 24 points. Young finished the first half with 13 points and also had six boards, two assists, two steals, and one block.
The second half got off to a decent start for the Beacons as they were able to extend their four point lead to seven in the first four minutes of play. They would continue to keep a safe distance from the Chargers until the midway point, when Colby-Sawyer cut the Beacons lead to two following a made 3-pointer from Zach Bean.
However the Beacons would respond with five straight points including a huge dunk from Joseph to make it 62-55. After an and-1 from Koang Thok which made it 62-58, Benabicha pushed UMass' lead back to seven on a clutch 3-pointer.
This would once again give the Beacons some breathing room as time continued to wind down. Colby-Sawyer made one last push to regain the lead in the closing minutes, but with some solid free throw shooting and back-to-back dunks by Joseph the Beacons put the final nail in the coffin in a much needed victory.
It was in the second half that UMass' defense really showed what it was made of as it held Colby-Sawyer to just 24.4% shooting. On the other side of the hardwood the Beacons shot 44.8% from the field and were led by Young and Joseph who combined for 26 points respectively. Big man Kadeem Coulter (Boston, Mass.) despite getting into foul trouble blocked a combined five shots, while also pulling down five boards.
For the Chargers, Mike Dias led his team with 18 points and had nine rebounds. Off the bench Thok finished with 17 points as he shot 5-for-15 with two 3-pointers and was 5-for-7 at the line. Wol Majong, who leads the Chargers in scoring, dropped in 13 points and also tallied eight boards, five assists, and two steals.
Men's Basketball returns to action on Tuesday when they travel to Framingham State University for an 8 p.m. non-conference game.