|University of Southern Maine||UMass Boston|
BOSTON – Sam Freeman scored 14 points to lead three players in double-figures as the UMass Boston Beacons held on for a 60-57 win over the University of Southern Maine Huskies in a Little East Conference men’s basketball game Wednesday night at the Clark Athletic Center.
With the win, UMass Boston improves to 12-10 overall and 5-6 in the Little East Conference. Southern Maine falls to 8-14 overall and 3-8 in the conference with the loss.
Freeman was 7-for-10 from the field for his game-high total adding four rebounds and two assists. Dan Powers had 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds to earn a double-double, while Iser Barnes tossed in 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting. Alex Sanchez had eight points off of the bench for the Beacons, including a pair of three-pointers.
USM senior James Starks III (Miami, Fla./Miami Killian) led all scorers with 22 points, and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season. Senior Zach Leal (York, Maine) added 16 points, six rebounds and three steals. Senior Jalen Lincoln (Nobleboro, Maine/Lincoln Academy) added eight points.
UMass Boston held a slim two-point 31-29 lead at the half. Powers had seven points for the Beacons, while Sanchez scored six of his eight, on two threes, to lead the way. Starks was nearly at a double-double for USM at the break with 15 points and seven rebounds. Leal hit a pair of free throws with 1:01 on the clock in the first half, but UMB closed out the game on a 6-2 run. Careem Kirksey was fouled while attempting a three and sank all three free throws, while Sanchez canned a three at the buzzer for the 31-29 lead at the break.
The game remained tight in the second half, and USM trailed by six, 59-53, after a pair of Powers free throws with 2:10 on the clock, before the Huskies’ senior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) made it a four-point game with a layup. After a failed possession on either side of the ball, Leal brought USM to within a basket, 59-57, knocking down a pair of free throws with 1:22 to play. Each team again missed the mark on their ensuing possessions, before Kirksey hit the first of two free throws with 24 seconds remaining to put UMB ahead 60-57.
USM missed on its final three shots despite a pair of missed free throws from UMB and had a chance to earn a win on the road, but could not get the ball to go.
Southern Maine remains on the road and will face Rhode Island College on Saturday (3:00 p.m.). UMass Boston hosts Plymouth State on Saturday (3:00 p.m.).