Jan. 9, 2010
WILLIMANTIC, CT - In a decisive three-minute stretch late in the game, senior guard Edwin Ortiz (Hartford, CT) scored five consecutive points and sophomore guard Nick Nedwick ((Irvington, NY) had a basket, two rebounds, a steal and assist to spark the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team to a 67-63 victory over the University of Massachusetts Boston Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
There were 17 lead changes and nine ties in the game before Eastern (9-3, 2-1 little east) took the lead for good with just under six minutes left. The Warriors scored seven straight points to move out to a 61-55 lead and sophomore post player Jeremy Thompson (Berlin, CT) sank two free throws with 16.7 seconds left after the Beacons (3-10, 1-2 little east) had pulled to within two.
Eastern Connecticut improves to 5-1 at home this year . Seven of Eastern's 12 games this year have now been decided by four or fewer points, with the Warriors having won five of those contests.
With UMass Boston leading by a point and in possession of the ball with just under six minutes left, junior post player Broderick Sawyer (Norwalk, CT) grabbed the rebound and Nedwick scored in the paint to give Eastern the lead for good, 56-55. A minute later, Nedwick fed Ortiz for a basket, and Ortiz followed up with a conventional three-point play to make it 61-55 with three minutes left.
The Beacons sank 21 of 25 free throws in the game, including 14 of 15 in the second half. UMass Boston missed all nine of its three-point attempts.
Eastern shot 54.2 percent from the floor in the second half, with sophomore guard Jamie Kohn (Coventry, CT) scoring 12 points and grabbing five rebounds over the final 20 minutes and Ortiz adding 11 points. The duo was 9-for-16 from the floor in the second half, 11-for-23 in the game.
Little East Conference rebounding leaders Ernst Jean (Malden, MA) and Pat Joseph (Queens, NY) of UMass Boston were each held to four rebounds but combined to shoot 15-for-24 from the floor. Joseph led all players with 21 points, Jean adding 17 before fouling out with 5.2 seconds left.
Ortiz, Nedwick and Kohn combined for 44 points on 15 of 28 shooting from the floor and also combined for half (14) of the team's rebounds. Sawyer collected a career-high five blocked shots. Two of them came in succession on Joseph and Jean in the opening minutes of the second half.
Eastern played without point guard Courtney Simmons (Middletown, CT) - the team's third-leading scorer. Simmons missed his first game with a finger injury. Freshman guard Joe Ives (Avon) came off the bench in place of Simmons, playing a career-high 17 minutes without a turnover. His free throw with 1.6 seconds left sealed the win.
Already the program leader in three-point field goals in a season and career, Ortiz moved ahead of 2008 graduate Leon Martin and into 12th place all-time with 1,204 career points in 90 career games (13.4 ppg.). Ortiz had two three-points in the game, extending his program record to 225.
Eastern visits defending conference playoff champion Massachusetts Dartmouth Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., while the Beacons host Plymouth State University on the same night at 7:300 p.m. in a Little East Conference tilt.
Material in this report courtesy of Eastern Connecticut State University Sports Information