BOSTON, Mass. – Freshman guard Anthony Matlock (Seattle, Wash.) sank a jumper with 17 seconds left in regulation and sophomore center Rodney Bennett (Mattapan, Mass.) came up with a key block on the other end to send the game into overtime, where the University of Massachusetts Boston men’s basketball team pulled away for a 97-90 victory over visiting Plymouth State University Tuesday night in a Little East Conference contest at the Clark Athletic Center.
The Beacons had a three-point lead with 1:59 left in the overtime session before reeling off seven unanswered points to take a comfortable 93-83 advantage with 25 seconds remaining. The defending LEC champion Beacons improve to 5-7 overall and pick up their first conference victory to raise their league mark to 1-3, while the Panthers fall to 7-8 and 0-4.
Senior Devin Ruocco (Dover, N.H.) and sophomore Ben Huntington (Hampstead, N.H.) combined for 54 points to lead the Panther effort. Ruocco made 7-of-14 shots from three-point range and finished with a game-high 30 points, while Huntington made 9-of-12 shots overall, 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, to finish with 24 points. Senior Mike Walcek (Dover, N.H.) finished with 15 points and a team-high six rebounds and junior Phil Bourassa (Old Orchard Beach, Maine) added 11 points and seven assists.
Bennett led the Beacons with 22 points, making 10-of-11 shots from the post. Senior swingman Tony Barros (Dorchester, Mass.) came off the bench to net 21 points, with a school-record 17 coming from the free throw line, including all eight of his attempts in overtime. Junior Amigo Paniagua (Santiago, D.R.) contributed 14 points, a game-high nine rebounds and six assists, and junior Mark Doran (South Boston, Mass.) and Matlock added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Plymouth State controlled the first half and led 31-19 before UMass Boston made a 12-4 run to pull it to within four points (35-31) with 4:06 to play. The Panthers led by as many as nine points for the rest of the half, before settling for a 44-39 halftime margin. Ruocco finished the first half with 19 points after making six three-pointers.
The Beacons knotted the contest at 46-46 with 17 minutes to play in the second half, and the teams would play within five points of each other for the remainder of the half with seven lead changes and 11 ties. Ruocco gave Plymouth State a 79-77 lead with 28 ticks left on the second half clock, before Matlock’s shot sent the contest into overtime.
Both teams are back in action on Saturday in 3:00 p.m. LEC contests, with UMass Boston visiting Rhode Island College and Plymouth State returning home to host Eastern Connecticut.
(Courtesy of UMass Boston Sports Information)
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