CASTLETON, Vt. -- Sophomore Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) scored 20 points (including six three-pointers) and dished out three assists to lead four players in double figures as UMass Dartmouth extended its winning streak to eight straight with a 75-63 Little East Conference men's basketball victory over Castleton Saturday afternoon at Glenbrook Gym.
Ashworth and senior Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) each scored 12 points in the opening 20 minutes of play for the visiting Corsairs (12-4, 6-1 LEC), who jumped out to a 13-point advantage before settling for a 38-31 edge at the break. The host Spartans (3-12, 0-7 LEC) scored nine of the first 11 points after intermission to close back to within a bucket (42-40) on sophomore Denis LeCours' (Hardwick, Vt.) three-pointer with 14:46 remaining, but that was as close as Castleton would come in the contest, as UMass Dartmouth maintained no less than a six-point edge in the closing minutes. A pair of lay-ins by senior Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey), coupled with two Obiora free throws, helped ice the visitors' triumph and extend their longest winning streak in nine years.
Obiora added 16 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the victory for the Corsairs, who received 10 points, four boards and four assists from Akcam along with 10 points, seven caroms and seven assists from freshman Marcus Azor (Brockton, Mass.). Freshman Sean Leahy (Hanson, Mass.) chipped in with nine points for UMass Dartmouth, which also received six points from sophomore Patrick Gavin (Beverly, Mass.) in shooting 46 percent (30-65) from the floor overall and connecting for nine from behind the arc. The visitors scored 25 points off of 23 Spartan turnovers and converted 13 offensive rebounds into 16 points on the afternoon.
Junior Casey Belade (Shelton, Conn.) scored a game-high 28 points (including six three-pointers) while adding four rebounds and three steals in the setback for Castleton, which received nine points from LeCours. Sophomore Michael Morgan (Wallingford, Vt.) chipped in with nine points and five boards for the hosts, who shot 52 percent (25-48) overall and canned 10 treys while holding a 31-29 rebounding advantage for the contest.
UMass Dartmouth hosts Eastern Connecticut in a Little East Conference outing on Wednesday evening at the Tripp Athletic Center that tips-off at 7:30 pm, while Castleton heads to Providence, R.I. on Wednesday evening to square off with Rhode Island College in a Little East match-up that also tips-off at 7:30 pm.