Feb. 19, 2011
BOSTON, MA - Senior center John Phillips (Hartford, CT) scored a game-high 18 points coming off the bench to lead the Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team over the University of Massachusetts Boston, 97-86, this afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center on the campus of UMass Boston. With the win, the Colonials clinch the \#2 spot next and a first round bye in next week's Little East Conference tournament, finishing the season at 21-4 overall and 11-3 in the LEC. The Beacons conclude their season with and 8-17 mark, 2-12 in conference play.
After trailing 46-44 at the half, UMass Boston came out of the gates on a 17-9 run, capped by a jumper by freshman guard Paul Anderson (Cambridge, MA) at the 13:31 mark of the second half to open up a 61-55 lead, their largest of the afternoon. The Colonials did not let the margin faze them as the visitors were able to regain the lead at 68-67 on a Phillips layup with 8:59 left to play in the contest. Freshman center Mbara Cisse (Miami, FL) put the home squad back ahead, 75-74, with a strong drive to the hoop with 7:21 to play, but it was the last lead of the afternoon for UMass Boston as the Colonials responded over the next three minutes with a 14-3 run, fueled by seven points from junior guard DaQuan Brooks (Atlanta, GA), to put WestConn ahead by a comfortable 88-78 margin. A layup by senior forward Pat Joseph (Queens, NY) with 1:40 remaining cut the Colonial lead back to single digits at 92-84 but it was the closest the home squad would get as Western Connecticut State was able to hold on for the 97-86 road victory.
In the first half of the contest, UMass Boston jumped out to an early 2-0 lead following two Anderson free throws before the Colonials went on a 10-0 spurt to open up a 10-2 lead, forcing the Beacons to call a timeout. WestConn would extend its lead to 11 points at 31-20 following a good jumper by Jengodji Gates (New Haven, CT) with 8:37 remaining in the opening stanza but the home squad would respond with a 9-0 run, capped by a layup by Joseph to make it a 31-29 game with just over five minutes left in the frame. The squads would trade baskets the remainder of the way, giving the visitors a 46-44 lead at the half.
Phillips 18 points came on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor and were a season-high. Brooks finished the afternoon with 17 points and a team-high four assists while Gates was next in the scoring column with 16 points. Senior forward Wilburt Jarrett (Hartford, CT) was also in double-figures with 15 points, followed by junior forward Gary Robinson's (Torrington, CT) 14 points while junior forward Mark Redding (Waterbury, CT) rounded out the six Colonials in double-figured with 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
For UMass Boston, Joseph finished the afternoon a rebound shy of recording his 21st career double-double, hauling in 17 points and nine boards in his final game with the Beacons. He finishes his UMass Boston career with 844 points and 527 rebounds over three seasons. His 7.9 rebounds per game career average ranks fifth all-time in the programs history. Junior forward Isaac Jenkins (Pordenone, Italy) also scored 17 points for the home squad. Junior guard Michael Mitchell Jr. (Boston, MA) recorded a double-double on 14 points and a season-high 10 assists. Anderson capped the game with 13 points while Cisse was also in double-figures with 10 points.
The loss ends the season while UMass Boston while the Colonials are idle until Friday, Feb. 25 when they will face off against the winner of the \#6 Plymouth State vs. \#3 Eastern CT State game at 6:00 PM at the host site of Rhode Island College in Providence, RI.