BOSTON, Mass. - A Jengodji Gates three pointer with 1:21 left in the first overtime would be the deciding basketball as Western Connecticut State University snuck past men's basketball by the final of 95-91 in overtime Saturday afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium in a Little East Conference contest.
Gates' 3-pointer would spark an 8-3 run in the final minute and a half to give the Colonials (10-4, 3-2 Little East) their first win over the Beacons (5-9, 0-5 Little East) since the 2011-12 season. Prior to the deciding field goal, UMass Boston held a slim lead twice, first following a pair of free throws from Steven McGuire (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) to make it 87-85.
Western Connecticut's Ronnie Underwood then tied the game at 87 all with a lay-up with 3:23 left in the OT. Junior Carl Joseph (Brockton, Mass.) put UMass up by one as he went 1-for-2 at the line. However after a slew of possession changes, the Colonials would move the ball up the court and find Gates open on the far side. The junior would take a step back and drain the basket shifting the momentum in favor of the visitors.
They would then push their lead to four after an UMass Boston turnover, with Underwood putting in a lay-up. Tyquan Ekejiuba (Randolph, Mass.) kept the Beacons in the game with a key jumper of his own to make it 92-90 with 33 seconds left.
Unfortunately the Beacons were unable to make that final push as Western made it a four-point game following a pair of Underwood free throws. Omar Benabicha (Saugus, Mass.) made it a one possession game as he 1-for-2 at the line but a foul by the Beacons would once again make it a two possession game and secured the victory for the Colonials.
It was also the clutch free shooting of Underwood that forced the overtime as he dropped in a jump to make 84-83 UMass Boston, then a pair of free throws to tie it at 85-85. The Beacons could have made it a three point game but failed to convert on their first free throw attempt with less than 20 seconds to play.
For Underwood his day ended with a team-best 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, with one 3-pointer and 5-of-7 at the line. For UMass Boston it was all Joseph as the Brockton native finished with a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds. The forward was 7-for-17 from the floor and 9-of-13 at the line. He also had three blocks and one steal.
Each team had five players finish with 10 or more points, but it was the turnovers between the two squads that played a major part in Saturday's contest. Between the two squads there were 58 turnovers respectively with UMass converting the 24 Colonial TO's into 21 points.
For McGuire, Saturday's contest was a breakout performance for the junior as he drained three 3-pointers in the second half, which at the time pushed the Beacons lead to double-figures. He ended the day 3-for-9 from the field and 2-for-2 at the line. He would also grab eight rebounds, third most on the team, and had one block and one steal in 14 minutes of action.
Quadry Allen (White Castle, La.) also finished with 11 points in the loss, while Gregory Young (Boston, Mass.) posted a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. Benabicha finished with 12 points and five assists.
Gates capped off the afternoon with 13 points, followed Jeremiah Washington who finished with 12. Joseph Groski and Jimmy Louissaint each had 11 points and Derek McIntyre grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Men's Basketball returns to action on Tuesday when they host UMass Dartmouth at 7:30 p.m.