PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Third-seeded UMass Dartmouth and fourth-seeded Western Connecticut State University advanced to the semifinal round of the 2019 Little East Conference Men's Basketball Championship Tournament following their First Round victories Tuesday night. The Corsairs defeated sixth-seeded Plymouth State University 83-65, while the Colonials downed fifth-seeded UMass Boston 97-77.
No. 3 UMass Dartmouth 83, No. 6 Plymouth State 65 – Box Score
FOR THE RECORD: The Corsairs record improved to 19-7 with the win, while the Beacons season closed at 13-12.
HOW IT HAPPENED: UMass Dartmouth opened the game with a 16-4 run and managed to maintain that advantage the rest of the opening period, taking a 33-24 lead at the half. The Corsairs pulled away in the later stages of the second half and led by as many as 23 points (72-49) with 4:32 to go in the contest. UMass Dartmouth shot 48 percent (31-64) from the floor and 83 percent (15-18) from the line, while the Panthers shot 39 percent (24-61) from the floor and 60 percent (9-15) from the line.
UMASS DARTMOUTH LEADERS: Freshman forward Sean Leahy (Hanson, Mass.) led five players that scored in double-figures for the hosts on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor to go with seven rebounds, while sophomore guard Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) added 14 points and senior forward Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) netted 12 points with seven board. Fellow senior forward Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey) notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
PLYMOUTH STATE LEADERS: Junior guard Jaylen Leroy (Manchester, N.H.) scored 16 points to lead the Panthers, while fellow junior guard Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) added 14 points with seven boards. Freshman forward Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) tallied 12 points with eight rebounds and four steals.
UP NEXT: The Corsairs will face second-seeded and two-time defending LEC champion Eastern Connecticut State University in Friday's semifinal round at 7:30 p.m., which will be hosted by top-seeded Keene State College.
No. 4 Western Connecticut 97, No. 5 UMass Boston 77 – Box Score
FOR THE RECORD: WestConn improved to 17-9 with their third straight win, while the Beacons season ends at 13-12.
HOW IT HAPPENED: The host Colonials outscored the Beacons 20-6 over the final six minutes of the first half to take a 45-32 lead at the break and never looked back. WestConn shot 59 percent (36-61) from the field and 48 percent (13-27) from 3-point range, while UMass Boston shot 43 percent (26-61) from the floor and 30 percent (8-27) from beyond the arc.
WESTERN CONNECTICUT LEADERS: Senior forwards Rashard Rodriguez (Trumbull, Conn.) and Aaron Samuel (Stratford, Conn.) scored 18 points each to lead the Colonials. Samuel added nine rebounds and four assists, while Rodriguez added four rebounds and three dimes. Junior forward Fenton Bradley, Jr. (Mansfield, Conn.) scored 12 points with four rebounds on 6-of-7 shooting in his 14 minutes off the bench.
UMASS BOSTON LEADERS: Sophomore guard Michael Boyd (Malden, Mass.) scored a game-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor, which included a 4-for-8 performance from three. Fellow sophomore guard Charlie Mitchell (Boston, Mass.) scored 15 points, while his twin brother Charles Mitchell (Boston, Mass.) chipped in with 12 points off the bench.
UP NEXT: The Colonials will next take on top-seeded Keene State College in Friday's semifinal round, tipping off at 5:30 p.m.