|UMass Boston||University of Southern Maine|
GORHAM, Maine – Senior Jacob Littlefield (Mechanic Falls, Maine/Poland Regional) hit the go-ahead basket with seconds remaining and classmate Zach Leal (York, Maine) scored six of his team-high 19 points in the final four minutes of the game to lift the University of Southern Maine Huskies to an 82-78 win over the UMass Boston Beacons in a Little East Conference men’s basketball game Wednesday night at Fifield Court.
Southern Maine earns its first win in conference with the victory and improves to 6-10 overall and 1-5 in the LEC. UMass Boston dips to 10-6 overall and 3-3 in the conference.
Leal scored 19 points and had seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocked shots to lead USM. Senior James Starks III (Miami, Fla./Miami Killian) notched his 10th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds, including nine offensive boards. Starks added two assists and three blocked shots. Junior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) tossed in 18 points, knocking down four three-pointers, while Littlefield finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Senior Dan Powers (Westwood, Mass./Catholic Memorial) had a monster double-double with 24 points and 20 rebounds – both game-high totals – to lead the Beacons. Junior Iser Barnes (Boston, Mass./Charlestown) added 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. Senior Sam Freeman (Boston, Mass./New Mission) added 11 points.
Ahead by 11, 32-21 with 6:41 remaining in the first half after a three from McCue, Southern Maine saw its lead dwindle to just one point at the break as the Beacons rallied with a 15-6 run to close out the first. The Huskies had built its lead from three, 20-17, with 11:00 to play to 11 using a 12-2 run, highlight by back-to-back threes from senior Jalen Lincoln (Nobleboro, Maine/Lincoln Academy) and McCue before UMB staged its run. After the McCue three, the Beacons 11 unanswered points to tied the game at 32 with 2:47 on the clock. Powers scored seven of the 11 points, before USM stopped the run with a three from junior Cam Scott (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) to regain the lead 35-32 with 1:20 to go. UMB finished the half narrowly outscoring USM 4-2 to trail by one and complete the 15-6 run.
The second half remained closely contested with the lead exchanging hands 10 times. Trailing by six, 72-66, with 3:56 to play, UMB’s Powers made it a one-possession game with a three pointer before USM scored five straight to create some separation and lead by three possession, 77-69, with 2:07 capped by a layup from McCue. However, the Beacons clawed their way back into the game with a 9-1 run, led by seven points from Barnes, to tie the game at 78 with just 44 seconds to play. On its next possession, USM ran the shot clock into single digits before Littlefield hit on the go-ahead basket with 13 seconds to play on a drive and dish from Leal. UMB had a chance to tie it on a driving layup, but missed and Leal cleared the board and sank two free throws to seal the win 82-78.