BOSTON – The Suffolk men's basketball team overcame a 14-point deficit and played its way through 21 lead changes and seven ties for an edge of your seat 68-66 victory over Beantown rival UMass Boston Thursday night at the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium.
SCORE: Suffolk 68 | UMass Boston 66
RECORDS: Suffolk (7-5) | UMass Boston (6-5)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Beacons put the first point on the board, but Suffolk quickly turned the tides in its favor with back-to-back buckets from George Grillakis and Steven DiPrizio. The Rams lead never grew greater than four, which allowed UMass to hang around.
Boston made its move after the first media timeout a lengthy 22-3 run that lasted a 7:11 span and gave the hosts a 14-point cushion 11:31 minutes in. Alex Jacovides broke up the stretch after UMass Boston rattled off nine unanswered points. The Rams did not rally around the sophomore's triple, however, and the Beacons went on to score 13 straight points for the 28-14 advantage.
Michael Hagopian put away a pair of freebies on a UMass Boston technical foul. The set of free throws jump started a Rams' run that was spearheaded by Hagopian with the senior sharpshooter going off for eight consecutive points to trim the margin to four, 28-24, with 6:10 to go in the first frame.
Suffolk trailed by three as the navy blue headed back to the hardwood out of the final media timeout of the first half. Jacovides quickly erased that deficit as the Tampa, Florida, native rattled his second trey of the day into the netting to start a fresh game at 32-all with 3:38 on the clock.
The score stood at a standstill for the next 2:06 with neither team taking advantage of its opportunities. Suffolk worked the shot clock passing around the perimeter. Thomas Duffy caught the Beacons' defense on their heels and found with Connor Byrne for an easy two points and the lead for the Rams with 1:32 left on the clock.
With 55 seconds to go before intermission, UMass equalized the playing field at 34 where the score remained as the teams headed into the break.
Back-and-forth action was present throughout the second stanza with neither team building more than a two-possession lead and as the halfway point approached, Suffolk remained in front by one, 50-49.
See-saw action ensued from there with four lead changes and one tied ball-game landing in Beacon's favor, 58-57, within a 3:03-minute span before the teams headed into huddles for the under 8 media timeout.
As time continued to tick off the clock consistent basketball was present the remainder of the way keeping the fans on the edges of their seats.
With under two minutes remaining in regulation, DiPrizio drew an off the ball foul and went to the line for a 1-and-1 opportunity. The senior sank the first and the second to regain a two-point edge for the visitors. The lead was shortlived as the Beacons answered with a bucket from behind-the-arc to switch gears in their favor and UMass took a timeout up one, 64-63, with 100 seconds to play.
Out of the break Duffy banked in a lay-up and was fouled in the process. The junior missed the and-1 chance allowing UMass to gain a one-point edge after a successful two-hoop trip from Michael Boyd to the foul line at the other end of the hardwood with 1:12 on the clock.
Nineteen seconds later the lead would switch one last time in commanding fashion as DiPrizio got by all the defenders for a go-ahead slam that put Suffolk in front, 67-66.
UMass had its chance to go to level the playing field or take the lead with four seconds left as Dasan Cinelli was sent to the charity stripe for a one-on-one opportunity. Cinelli missed the front end and Duffy grabbed the rebound. The Beacons fouled the junior floor general and he went 1-for-2 at the line to lock up the 68-66 win for the blue-and-gold.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- DiPrizio had a standout double-double effort of 18 points and eight boards. His offensive output came behind an 8-for-12 showing from the field. He added five assists to his stat line as well.
- Hagopian finished the night with 20 points, going 7-for-12 from the floor including 3-for-5 from three-point range. He chipped in three caroms and one block as well.
- Duffy completed the trio of Rams in double figures with 13 points to his credit along with four rebounds, three dimes and one takeaway.
- On the night Suffolk shot 43.1 percent (25-58) from the floor, 30.4 percent (7-23) from behind-the-arc and 78.6 percent (11-14) from the foul line.
- The Rams were outrebounded by the Beacons, 38-36.
- Suffolk won its second straight game versus the Beacons to move to 10-20 all-time versus UMass Boston.
- The Rams back-to-back win against the Beacons marks the first time the blue-and-gold down its Beantown rival since the 2004-05 seasons.
- Suffolk improved to 2-2 versus UMB in the Jeff Juron era.
- DiPrizio notched his second collegiate double-double and first since Nov. 16, 2016.
- DiPrizio had a career-high five handouts and a season-best 18 points and 11 rebounds.
- Hagopian had his second 20-plus point game of the season.
Suffolk takes the weekend off and will play in front of its home crowd for the first time in the New Year Wednesday, Jan. 9 as it welcomes Regis to Regan Gymnasium for a non-conference clash that is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.