PLYMOUTH, N.H. – After losing to Plymouth State University by 38 points last month, the University of Massachusetts Boston men’s basketball team turned the tables Saturday afternoon, knocking off the first-place Panthers in overtime, 106-103, in a Little East Conference game at Foley Gymnasium.
Freshman Alberto Paniagua (Lawrence, Mass.) and sophomore Tony Barros (Dorchester, Mass.) led the Beacons, Paniagua scoring 26 points and grabbing nine rebounds and Barros adding 23 points. UMB, which was defeated by PSU, 104-66, on Jan. 11, won its third straight to improve to 8-15 overall and 4-7 in conference play.
The Beacons also got slid contributions from senior James Hall (Jacksonville, Fla.), who collected 15 points and nine boards, junior Eric Bateman (Glassboro, N.J.), who chipped in with 14 points, and freshman Mark Doran (South Boston, Mass.), who added 10 points.
PSU’s outstanding tandem of senior Nick Pelotte (Bingham, Maine) and sophomore Andreas Pope (Brooklyn, N.Y.) combined on 65 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Panthers. Pelotte tossed in 38 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists, his third straight performance of 34 or more points. Pope finished with his 13th double-double of the season as he registered 27 points (on 11-of-15 shooting) and 13 boards.
The Panthers also got 14 points from junior Kevin Boutilier (North Andover, Mass.) and 10 points from sophomore Mike Walcek (Dover, N.H.) The outcome snapped PSU’s winning streak at six games and dropped the Panthers to 17-6 overall and 9-3 in the conference.
With a week to play in the regular season, PSU and Western Connecticut are tied for first in the LEC at 9-3, with Rhode Island College at 8-4 and Keene State at 7-5.
Plymouth State led most of the first half and held a seven-point advantage (48-41) at halftime. UMB chipped away at the margin and took its first lead of the second half (60-58) with 13 minutes to play. There were seven lead changes and eight ties over the next eight minutes, with neither team leading by more than one possession until PSU went ahead 80-76 with five minutes remaining.
PSU still held a five-point lead (89-84) with 1:33 to go, but UMB battled back to tie it at 90-90 with 16 seconds left in regulation. A potential game-winning shot by PSU at the end of regulation bounced out.
The Beacons led most of overtime, but Boutilier tied it for PSU at 103-all with a pair of free throws with 22 seconds on the clock. Paniagua scored eight of his teams 13 points in the extra frame, but senior Eddie Ramos (Malden, Mass.) drained the winning basket for UMB with a three-pointer with six seconds left.
PSU wraps up the regular season next week with LEC road games Tuesday at Southern Maine (7:30 p.m.) and a showdown Saturday at Western Connecticut (3:00 p.m.). UMB returns home to host UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday (7:30 p.m.) before visiting Eastern Connecticut next Saturday (3:00 p.m.)
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