BOSTON, Mass. – The Bridgewater State University men's basketball team opened the 2018-2018 season with an 81-69 loss to host UMass Boston on Wednesday night at the Clark Athletic Center.
The game marked the season-opener for both teams.
Sophomore guard Kevin Nunez (Dorchester, Mass.) and freshman forward Javaris Hill (Lynn, Mass.) came off the bench to combine for 33 points and 22 rebounds to lead the way for UMass as they both posted double-doubles. Nunez tallied 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting to go along with ten rebounds (four offensive), while Hill notched 16 points on 8 of 11 shooting to go along with 12 boards (seven offensive).
The Beacon reserves outscored the BSU bench by a decided margin of 50-4.
UMass Boston also dominated the boards with a 65-30 rebounding advantage including a 31-5 edge on the offensive glass. The work on the boards would lead to 28 second chance points for the Beacons compared to just eight for the Bears.
Sophomore guard Michael Boyd (Malden, Mass.) scored a game-high 19 points for UMass. Boyd also grabbed three rebounds and dished out six assists. Junior guard Alex Sanchez (Salem, Mass.) added 11 points off the bench.
Freshman center Malik Lorquet (Sharon, Mass.) led all players with nine offensive rebounds and 17 total boards.
UMass shot just 39% (33-85) from the floor and 3-for-17 (18%) from three-point range, but the Beacons also attempted 27 more shots than the Bears. The visitors finished with shooting percentages of 41% (24-58) from the floor and 26% (5-19) from behind the arc. Both teams struggled at the free throw line. Bridgewater went 16-for-26 (62%) at the line while UMass finished 12-for-23 (52%).
Junior forward Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.) paced Bridgewater State with 20 points on 9 of 12 shooting to go along with five rebounds and three blocked shots. Junior forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville, N.C.) posted a double-double with 15points and ten boards, while sophomore forward Nick Crocker (East Falmouth, Mass.) added 13 points and four caroms.
The Bears jumped out to a 7-2 lead early on, but were never able to pull away from the slow-starting Beacons. The Beacons cut the deficit to two just before the second media timeout and Charlie Mitchell (Boston, Mass.) then knotted the score at 16-16.
The two teams would trade leads for the next six minutes, before UMass Boston went on an 11-1 run. Hill recorded eight of the Beacons 11 points during the run, with three of his four baskets coming off of putbacks. Boyd added on a three-pointer to give the Beacons a 37-27 advantage with 3:17 left in the half.
Bridgewater State used a couple of late baskets to go into the break only down 46-38. The Bears would keep the momentum going, as they stretched their run to 10-0 between the two halves to tie the score at 46-46 with 16:56 to play. Ward knocked down a pair of buckets during the spurt, while St. Louis drained a three-pointer.
After a long scoreless stretch, UMass Boston put together a 10-2 flurry to regain their eight-point halftime lead. UMass Boston was turning defense into offense, as they forced two turnovers during the stretch and added a Hill block.
The Beacons added to their cushion shortly afterwards, with a 7-0 run to make it 63-50 with 10:16 to play. Nunez was the principal player during the stretch, as he recorded five of the Beacons' seven points.
UMass Boston never let the Bears get to within ten the rest of the way.
Bridgewater State hosts The Cave Classic on Friday and Saturday. The Bears (0-1) take on Salve Regina University on Friday evening at 5:30 in opening round action.