BOSTON – For the first time since 2007, Suffolk men's basketball came out on the winning side against its city rival as the Rams defeated UMass Boston, 79-69, Tuesday night at Regan Gymnasium to stretch its win streak to four.
SCORE: Suffolk 79, UMass Boston 69
RECORDS: Suffolk (5-4) | UMass Boston (5-5)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The teams went hoop-for-hoop in the opening minutes with UMass connecting first and holding the slim edge before George Grillakis swished a long ball to give the Rams their first edge of the night in a half that featured six tied scores and lead exchanges.
Suffolk grabbed a four-point lead, 23-19, as Jim Djema put away his second three of the night. The Beacons charged back with six unanswered points to flip the switch and make it a 25-23 UMass contest. Djema had other things in mind when the junior knocked down his third trey of the night to flip the score once in the Rams favor, 26-25.
Out of a Suffolk timeout, Boston turned the tides once again, but Djema answered with his fourth triple of the day to give the Rams an advantage, 29-27, they would not relinquish the rest of the first frame. Thomas Duffy converted two fast break lay-ups and Jonathan Eng knocked down a set of freebies to send the hosts into intermission up, 35-28.
UMass Boston put the first hoop away out of half time, but it would be no match for Suffolk's 9-0 run that made it a 44-30 Rams game just 3:04 into the second half, which forced the Beacons to take a timeout. The visitors used the break to their advantage as it broke up the Rams' run and trimmed the margin to 10.
Brendan Mulson jump started another consecutive scoring stretch that featured back-to-back buckets from downtown from Djema that put the Rams in front 53-36 with just under 13 minutes remaining in regulation.
The Rams kept the Beacons at a double digit for the majority of way until the visitors made it a nine-point game, 64-55, with 5:13 on the clock.
Foul trouble caused problems for both sides and the Rams took advantage, gaining a 71-56 advantage at the 4:01 minute mark. Charles Mitchell kept UMass in it though as the freshman struck twice from behind-the-arc to close the gap to eight, 72-64, with 3:14 to go.
As time ticked off, Suffolk went 4-for-8 to keep things interesting as Michael Boyd was fouled when shooting a three and made the trio at the charity stripe to cut Suffolk's edge to seven, 76-69, with 41.4 on the clock.
Duffy made a pair of freebies when it counted and Djema converted one to seal up the 78-69 win for the Rams.
- Djema's career-best 28 points led the way as the junior connected on 6-of-9 three-point attempts finishing the night 9-for-12 from the field and 4-for-6 at the line. He added three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
- Duffy registered 20 points with a 7-for-12 night and 5-for-8 effort at the free throw line. He pitched in five caroms three dimes and a pair of steals.
- Hagopian rounded out Rams in double figures with 11, while Mulson had an all-around day with night points and six boards.
- Jamal Fiin led the effort on the glass for Suffolk with eight in a reserve effort.
- Suffolk out rebounded UMass, 37-32.
- The Rams shot 53.1 percent (26-49) from the field compared to the Beacons' 39.7 connection rate (25-63) from the floor.
- Each team with 66.7 percent from the foul line, while the Rams took advantage of their hot hands, going 9-for-22 on the long ball.
- The Rams are on a roll as of late, winning their fourth consecutive game, which is the longest win streak since matching that number Nov. 22-Dec. 4, 2014.
- The Rams earned their first win over the Beacons since 2007 and first-time Suffolk defeated UMass under Jeff Juron's guidance.
- The victory is Suffolk's eighth-ever in 28 overall meetings with UMass Boston since the series began in 1990.
- Suffolk improves to 4-0 in front of its home crowd this season.
- Duffy has now scored double digits in all, but one game. The sophomore has dropped double figures in five consecutive games, while contributing 20-plus points in five contests.
- Djema produced double figures for the second time this season and notched a new career-best with 28 points.
- Fiin had a career-best eight rebounds.
- Juron used the lineup of Djema, Hagopian, Duffy, Mulson and Kevin Querusio. That starting five combination has earned the nod in each of Suffolk's nine contests this season and improved to 5-4.
Following finals and the holidays, Suffolk will be back in action Wednesday, Jan. 6 inside Regan Gymnasium at 6 p.m. versus Framingham State.