BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston men's basketball posted their best defensive showing in seven seasons, to earn a 66-37 season-opening win over Eastern Nazarene College on Thursday night at the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium.
UMass Boston 66, Eastern Nazarene 37
(UMass Boston 1-0)
(Eastern Nazarene 1-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Playing in front of a huge home crowd, the Beacons allowed just 17 points in the first half and 20 in the second half, en-route to a strong defensive showing. For the game, the Beacons held the Lions to 27.1 percent shooting (13-48) from the field and a 23.8 percent showing (5-21) from distance.
Malik Lorquet (Sharon, Mass.) was a huge part of the Beacons success on both ends of the floor. The sophomore big recorded eight points and 13 rebounds (including six on the offensive end). He also dished out four assists and recorded two steals and one block in 20 minutes.
Junior Charlie Mitchell (Boston, Mass.) paced UMass Boston with 16 points on 6-13 shooting. He tacked on seven rebounds, four assists and a game-high four steals.
His twin brother Charles Mitchell (Boston, Mass.) finished second in the contest with 15 points on 5-8 shooting from distance.
Senior Dasan Cinelli (Boston, Mass.) was the final Beacon in double-figures, as he recorded 12 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting from the field.
Noah Cheney led the visitors with nine points on 3-5 shooting from distance. Ricky Shearman chipped in six points and five rebounds and Will Zarges added six points and four rebounds off the bench.
Neither side could get any offense going in the opening minutes. UMass Boston hit the first field goal of the game 6:09 into the contest, when Charles Mitchell drained a 3-pointer to make it 6-0 Beacons.
After Shearman hit a layup for the visitors, Charlie Mitchell and Cinelli knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to open up a 12-2 lead for the hosts.
UMass Boston blew the game wide open with a 14-2 run over a 5-minute span. With the Beacons leading 18-10, Cinelli hit a layup, Lorquet knocked down a free throw and Charlie Mitchell hit a layup to make it 23-12. From there it was all Charles Mitchell, as the junior hit three 3-pointers to open up a 32-12 lead with 3:28 left in the first half.
The Beacons extended their advantage out to as many as 23 late in the half, before going into the break with a 39-17 advantage.
Eastern Nazarene knocked down a 3-pointer to start the second half, but they would never get closer than 19. The Beacons used a mini 6-0 run to stretch the lead to 52-25 and then seven more in a row to earn a 59-28 lead with 9:15 to play.
Both teams would empty their benches over the final nine minutes, with 14 different Beacons seeing time in their season opener.
BY THE NUMBERS
- The Beacons' 37 points allowed, are the fewest points the team has given up under fifth-year head coach Jason Harris. The last time UMass Boston gave up 37 or fewer points was on November 23, 2012, when they held the University of New England to 30 points in a 72-30 home victory.
- UMass Boston finished the game shooting 39.4 percent (26-66) from the field, 10-24 (41.7 percent) from distance and 4-10 from the free throw line.
- With the win, UMass Boston has now won four in a row over the Lions and improved to 14-5 all-time against Eastern Nazarene. The Beacons had won the prior three meetings over the Lions by a combined 15 points.
- UMass Boston earned a 22-3 lead in points off turnovers and a 19-8 edge in second-chance points.
- Five Beacons made their collegiate debuts during the victory.
- All 14 UMass Boston players who saw the court recorded at least one rebound. The Beacons led 44-34 in rebounds and earned a 15-8 edge in offensive rebounds.
UMass Boston will have a quick turnaround, as they travel to MIT on Friday night for a 7 p.m. tip-off.