Dinneen's dagger delivers OT victory for Salve Regina

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NEWPORT, R.I. - Senior guard Patrick Dinneen (Medfield, Mass.) hit a 3-pointer with 27.4 seconds in overtime that lifted Salve Regina University men's basketball to an 80-74 victory over visiting Endicott College in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action at the Rodgers Recreation Center.

Dinneen's game-high 26 points included a pair of free throws at the end for the final score as Salve Regina (13-7; 8-5 CCC) ended a two-game skid while splitting the season series with Endicott (14-6; 8-5 CCC).

The game featured 18 ties and 18 lead changes.

Dinneen's layup at 16:36 in the first half gave the Seahawks their largest lead of the game (13-6) and capped a 10-1 run for Salve Regina.

Freshman guard Kamahl Walker (Worcester, Mass.) connected on his first shot of the game at 15:16 in the opening period, a 3-pointer that started a 7-0 run for the Gulls forging the third deadlock of the game at 13-all (13:48 on the clock).

Both teams exchanged 6-0 runs for the fourth tie. Lachlan Magee (Melbourne, Australia) gave the Gulls their second lead of the game with five straight points including a three-point play.

Trailing by two (24-22 at 6:01), Salve Regina outscored Endicott, 10-9, the rest of the half with Chris O'Keefe (Lexington, Mass.) scoring six points down the stretch including a buzzer-beating jumper from just beyond the foul line. Endicott led by one at the break (33-32), but free throws by Jeff Bielefeld (Littleton, Mass.) in the opening minute of the second half put the Seahawks ahead again.

Bielefeld's layup at 15:53 in the second broke the 10th tie, but Endicott went on a 13-3 run for its largest lead of the game, eight points (54-46 at 11:31) following a layup from junior forward Matt Kneece (Shrewsbury, Mass.).

It took nearly seven minutes for the Seahawks to tie the score again, doing so on Dinneen's first free throw at 3:41 remaining in the second, and then taking the lead on his second make at that mark. Magee immediately returned the lead to the visitors with a quick layup at the other end.

O'Keefe made both free throws at 3:16 while John Henault (Lunenberg, Mass.) nailed a jumper on his team's next possession. Tell White (New Castle, N.H.) missed both free throws at 2:23 with a one-point lead, 65-64, and Bielefeld converted a layup at the other end to reclaim the lead for Salve Regina.

Endicott, which entered the game as the top team in the league in free throw shooting percentage (71.9%), made only 14-of-26 from the line tonight. Magee also missed a pair on the next Gull possession, but Max Motroni (West Warwick, R.I.) grabbed the offensive carom before White got another chance at the charity stripe. The junior forward redeemed himself with two swishes for a 67-66 Gull advantage at 1:27.

Bielefeld rebounded a missed Dinneen layup and fed his classmate for the go-ahead bucket at with 50 seconds left in regulation. Dinneen took the ball away from White, but Motroni go it right back on the Gulls' side and Andre Makris (Southbury, Conn.) went to the line for two, making only the second attempt to tie the score at 68-68.

Nicholas Bates (Danvers, Mass.) launched a 3-point attempt at the buzzer for Salve Regina, but it went long.

In overtime, Salve Regina scored first and never trailed. Dinneen and Bates both made single free throws before Motroni tied it up with a layup at 3:25. Bates and White exchanged field goals to knot the score at 72-72 with under three minutes remaining in overtime.

After a Bielefeld layup gave Salve Regina a 74-72 lead, Magee found White cutting to the basket for the 18th tie of the game at 1:44. Bielefeld made one of two free throws at 1:06 before Makris' leaning jumper in the paint hit the backboard wide left and fell into Dinneen's hands.

Dinneen controlled the ball with several cross-over dribbles into the forecourt before launching his 3-pointer for a four-point lead, 78-74. He later stole the ball and earned a trip to the free throw line to seal the game. Bielefeld grabbed a Henault 3-point miss to end the action.

"I'm very proud of the leadership of our seniors," said Seahawk 12th-year head coach Sean Foster. "Jeff, Pat provided a lot of points, but Scott (St. Lawrence) and Josh (Hohlfelder) stepped up when it counted. We needed to take care of the ball better with Barrett (sophomore point-guard Hanlon) out, and these seniors got it done."

Bielefeld posted his team-leading eighth double-double of the season (22 points, 12 rebounds). Bates and O'Keefe added 10 points apiece.

Walker and White led Endicott with 15 points apiece while Magee chipped in 13 for the Gulls.

Salve Regina hits the road this weekend to play at University of New England; the Seahawks beat the Nor'easters at Rodgers Recreation Center last month. Salve Regina returns home on Wednesday, February 12, when it hosts Eastern Nazarene. The Gulls return to Beverly to host Roger Williams University on Saturday.