Dec. 2, 2010
BOSTON, MA - Junior guard Isaac Jenkins (Pordenone, Italy) poured in a game-high 24 points including six in the extra session to lift the University of Massachusetts Boston men's basketball team over Suffolk University, 81-78, in overtime Thursday evening at the Clark Athletic Center on the campus of UMass Boston. With the win, the Beacons improve to 4-1 overall on the year, to match the program's best start since the 2000-01 campaign. The loss is the third straight for the Rams, dropping them to 3-4 on the season.
A layup by senior forward Pat Joseph (Queens, NY) with 10:38 to play in the second half gave UMass Boston its largest lead of the night at 54-40, before Suffolk began mounting its comeback to send the game to overtime. Two free-throws by Jenkins gave the Beacons a 58-47 lead with 6:18 to play before the Rams went on an 8-0 run fueled by six points from sophomore center Matt Pepdjonovic (Quincy, MA), to cut the lead to three at 58-55 with 3:49 left in regulation. A bucket by freshman forward Dontreal Thomas (White Castle, LA) pushed the lead back to five before Suffolk rattled off four straight points capped by a three point field goal from junior guard Mike Gibbons (Ringwood, NJ) to make it a one point contest at 60-59 with 2:16 remaining. Joseph connected on a layup with just under two minutes remaining to extend the lead back to three for the Beacons at 62-59 before the Rams answered with a 4-0 run on back-to-back layups by senior point guard Mike Fleming (Exeter, NH) and sophomore forward Colin Haplin (Melrose, MA) to take their first lead of the half at 63-62 with 0:59 seconds remaining in regulation. Junior guard Mo Johson (Portland, OR) responded with a three from way downtown at the top of the key to pull UMass Boston back ahead, 65-63 before Haplin sent the game to overtime with another layup with eight ticks left on the clock. Junior point guard Michael Mitchell Jr. (Boston, MA) had a shot at the buzzer to win the game for the Beacons but it brushed off the front of the rim as time expired with the score knotted at 65-65.
In the extra frame, UMass Boston opened play with a 4-0 spurt with all the points coming via Joseph to put the home squad on top, 69-65 with 3:40 to play. A downtown bucket by Fleming would cut the Beacons lead to one at 69-68 before Jenkins answered with a layup with 3:09 remaining to make it a three-point game at 71-68. Suffolk responded with a 4-0 run of its own following a pair of Haplin free throws and a jumper by Fleming to take a 72-71 lead with 2:12 on the clock. Jenkins did not let the visitors hold the lead for long, answering with a layup to pull UMass Boston ahead for good at 73-72. Two free throws by Mitchell Jr. extended the lead back to four at 76-72 before Fleming hit another three with 0:39 to play to make it a one-point game. Freshman guard M.J. Bentley (Orlando, FL) connected on one of two three throws and a layup to push the UMass Boston lead back to three at 79-75 with 0:19 seconds remaining but the Rams just wouldn't go away as freshman swingman Jordan James (Smithfield, RI) connected on a three point basket from the right wing to make it 79-78, UMass Boston, with 0:10 seconds left on the clock. Following a timeout by the Rams, Suffolk immediately fouled on the inbound to send Jenkins to the line for a pair with eight ticks left on the clock. Jenkins made them both to put the Beacons ahead, 81-78. Suffolk was able to advance the ball past half court with three seconds to spare but was then suffocated by the UMass Boston frontcourt defensive pressure which did not allow the visitors to get an attempt off before time expired.
In the first half, Haplin opened the game's scoring with a layup to give Suffolk to 2-0 edge before the Beacons rattled off 12 unanswered points, 10 coming from Jenkins, to take a comfortable 12-2 lead with 15:37 to play in the first stanza. The Rams would pull within two at 21-19 following a trifecta by Fleming with 3:36 left on the clock, but over the final three minutes of action UMass Boston would outscore Suffolk, 10-6, to secure a 32-25 lead at the halftime intermission.
The 24 point outing by Jenkins is a new career-high as the junior shot 8-16 from the floor while going a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe. Bentley finished the game with 15 points while Joseph recorded a double-double on 14 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Mitchell Jr. was one assist shy of recording a double-double, notching 11 points and nine helpers while Johnson chipped in with 10 points off the bench in the win.
For Suffolk, Pepdjonovic recorded a monster double-double with a game-high 19 rebounds to go along with 15 points. Haplin led the Rams in scoring with 22 points while Fleming registered 18 points off the bench on 7-12 shooting, including 4-7 from long range to go along with a team-high seven assists.
UMass Boston will return to action on Saturday, December 4 when it heads to Keene, NH to face Keene State College in the first Little East Conference match-up of the year at 3:00 p.m. The Rams take the hardwood again next on the same day, hosting Johnson & Wales University (RI) at 3:00 p.m. in a GNAC conference game.