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M-Basketball: Warriors Clamp Down

They hold Corsairs to 15 first-half points and  overall 29.0 pct. shooting


POSTPONED: Men's Basketball Thursday at Wentworth. NEW DATE: Thursday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m. at Wentworth.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut LEC25.jpgState University's pressure defense limited Massachusetts Dartmouth to 15 first-half points and a season-low point total as the Warriors equaled their longest winning streak against the Corsairs  in 25 seasons of Little East Conference men's basketball play, 70-52, Tuesday evening at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At left: Broderick Sawyer (Cris Yarborough photo)

Now 7-1 at home, Eastern (10-3, 3-1 little east)  used a 12-2 run early in the game to establish an 11-point, 18-7 lead and held UMass (5-8, 2-2 little east) to 15.2 percent shooting from the floor in building a 17-point, 32-15 halftime lead. UMass' final point total was its lowest against Eastern ever in LEC regular-season or LEC tournament competition.

The victory - coupled with losses by previously-unbeaten Western Connecticut and Rhode Island College - lifts the Warriors into a four-way tie for first place. Western lost at home to Keene State, 81-76, and Rhode Island dropped a 95-88 decision at previously-winless University of Southern Maine. Keene also shares first place with a 3-1 record.

The win is the third in a row for the Warriors dating back to last year's two regular-season games over the Corsairs --  the winningest team in conference history with 13 regular-season titles and 11 tournament championships. Eastern's only other three-game win streak over UMass came in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons.

Ranked first in the LEC by averaging 9.2 three-point field goals per game and third in three-point field goal percentage (.373), UMass missed 24 of 29 three-point tries (.172 percent) against Eastern's tight man-to-man defense. Until Tuesday, UMass's lowest scoring game had been 62 points in a 24-point loss to the nation's No. 5-ranked team (Middlebury College).

Senior center Broderick Sawyer (Norwalk) posted the first double-double of his 91-game career with 13 points (5-of-10 from the floor) and a career-high ten rebounds and blocked two shots.  Sophomore center Chris Robitaille (Canton) had 11 points and six rebounds off the bench and LEC rebounding leader Jamie Kohn (Columbia), a junior guard, contributed 15 points (7-of-10 FG), six rebounds and two blocked shots.

Ranked third in the conference in rebounding margin (+5.1), the Warriors enjoyed a 50-34 advantage on the boards, with the Corsairs' 12 offensive rebounds resulting in only six points.

Eastern visits Wentworth Institute of Technology Thursday at 6 p.m.