Against UMD, they reach ten LEC victories for third straight year
At left: Tyler Hundley
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Junior guard Mike Garrow (Terryville) was one of five starters to find double figures in points as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team won for the eighth time in ten games on its opponents' court with a 78-59 Little East Conference triumph over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Monday night at the Tripp Athletic Center.
With the win, defending LEC regular-season and tournament champion Eastern (16-7, 10-2 Little East) remains one game behind conference leader Rhode Island College. The Warriors close out with home games against Keene State College Wednesday and UMass Boston Saturday while the Anchormen visit Western Connecticut Wednesday and Keene State College Saturday. Now 2-11 at home, UMass (4-19, 1-11 Little East) remains in the LEC cellar.
Eastern reached double figures in LEC regular-season wins for the third straight season - the first three double-figure LEC win seasons in 26 years of competition. It also represents the fourth straight regular-season LEC sweep of UMass Dartmouth - the first time it has been accomplished by an Eastern senior class.
Garrow and freshman guard Trachone Preston (Enfield) sparked a 47-point second half which allowed the Warriors to pull away from a two-point halftime lead. Garrow was 9-for-9 from the foul line en route to 13 second-half points while Preston nailed half of his eight field goals and finished with ten.
A 12-point first half lead disappeared over the final eight minutes of the opening half and the Warriors needed a jumper from Preston in the final seconds - moments after the resumption of play following a ten-minute delay due to a power outage -- to generate a two-point halftime edge.
Garrow led all scorers with 19 points, senior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) adding 15 points, Preston 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists, senior forward Tyler Hundley (Cheshire) 12 points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes, and junior guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven) ten points and three assists. Salzillo converted a three-point field goal in the first half to extend his streak of at least one in 28 straight games. His two three-pointers in the game give him 71 on the season and move him into second place, eight behind the season record-holder.
Hundley was 4-for-6 from the floor, 2-for-2 from long range and 2-for-3 from the stripe and did not turn the ball over. In the most protracted appearance of his young career, freshman post player Darryl Best (Hamden) contributed six points, two rebounds and two blocked shots in 19 minutes off the bench.
The conference's second-leading defensive team, Eastern gave up only one field goal (a three-pointer) and five points over a four-minute stretch in the second half while scoring 18 of its own to take the lead for good and move out to a 12-point, 55-43 lead with 11 minutes left. In keeping with this year's pattern, the three-point field goal sparked the decisive run, with Preston chipping in both of his, Salzillo his only one of the second half and Hundley's second of two in the half.
The Warriors were 6-of-11 from three-point range, dropped in 20 of 25 free throws, and turned the ball over only nine times.
Eastern has now limited six of its last seven conference opponents to 60 or less points.
Eastern hosts Keene State College Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. -30-