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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Still In Playoffs?

Senior Roger Perry (center) has 1,114 career points and stands sixth in UMB history.
Krisada Sowsuwannamas
Senior Roger Perry (center) has 1,114 career points and stands sixth in UMB history.

Before you read this article (yes, you have to anyway), let me clearly admit this: my information is old.

I know it’s more than strange that a writer forfeits the dignity of his article. But the reality is, because my deadline is on Monday morning for an issue being published on Thursdays, the result of the Little East Conference (LEC) Quarterfinals between the UMass Boston Men’s Basketball team (8-17, 5-9) and Plymouth State University (17-8, 9-5) on Tuesday, one day after my deadline, is not available right now. So, as soon as you finish my reading The Mass Media, visit www.LittleEast.com/mbb/ and go to “Tournament” to check the final result.

A weekend ago, UMB wrapped up its 2004-05 regular season with a 71-79 loss to Eastern Connecticut State University (8-15, 4-10) in Willimantic, Connecticut, on Saturday, February 19. The Beacons stand sixth among eight contenders in LEC to challenge the third-place Plymouth State, against which the Beacons split two games this year.

“I’m at the point where I’m telling these guys that there is no tomorrow if you lose,” Beacons head coach Rodney Hughes said before playoff. “So, you have nothing to lose. You play everyday and just do your things. These guys know that. I don’t have to tell them that again.”

Fortune fickly smiled on and off UMB throughout the Hughes’ first season as a head coach after assisting the team for 28 years. Before the winter break, a bright future had been assured for UMB when the Beacons consecutively defeated their rival teams to beat Salem State College, then ranked 25th in the nation, by 17 points, and the defending conference champion Keene State College for the first time in eight years. The outset of the year 2005, however, knocked UMB down from the pinnacle of the conference to the bottom with a ten-game losing streak dating from January 6 to February 3. The Beacons picked up three wins in a row during mid-February, before losing two straight, both against underdogs, to end the stormy season that started on November 19.

Senior Roger Perry, adding 10 points at Eastern Connecticut, capped his fourth regular season with 1,114 career points placing him sixth in the Beacons 24-year history as of February 21. The guard played a total of 84 games with an average of 12.7 points per game. Perry was chosen once as the LEC Player of the Week this year while winning the Rookie of the Week twice in the 2001-02 season.

Freshman Alberto Paniagua started his collegiate career in an outstanding fashion. The 6′ 2″ forward was crowned with four LEC Rookie of the Week awards, led the Beacons, seventh in LEC, in rebounds (6.9 per game), and averaged 15.0 points to be ninth in the conference. Paniagua added 24 points against Eastern Connecticut who defeated UMB twice in as many contests this season, following an 80-77 overtime decision on January 15.

Hughes said that the loss to the last-place team of LEC could be attributed to a trio of the Warriors, Jeroy Smith (17 points, 12 rebounds), Shiwon Davis (15 points, 7 rebounds), and Mike Bartunek (14 points). Smith was 6 for 7, while Davis shot 64 percent.

“They did a good job on us.” Hughes said, “I didn’t have nothing to worry about if they were going outside [the 3-point line] and we were going inside. But the things went vice versa. They were going inside and we were going outside. That big guy (Smith) did a nice job today, Bartunek and Davis, too. Their shooting killed us.”

Eastern Connecticut never trailed after UMB sophomore Tony Barros hit a three-pointer to put the Beacons up 17-15 around half way through the first half. UMB scored seven straight points to enter into the break, chasing closely by 36-38. After the halftime, however, the Warriors made a decisive 15-3 run to build a double-digit lead. Paniagua’s 376th point of the season narrowed the deficit down to six (71-77), which was not until the 400 spectators were sure about the hosting Warriors’ victory with only 0:27 left.

Barros, who set the UMB single season record with 89 triples this season, found trouble dealing with a persistent man-to-man mark by Eastern Connecticut’s Geoffrey Richardson for the entire game. The Warriors succeeded in holding him to nine points, or 3-for-11 shooting. “[Eastern Connecticut] didn’t let Tony do anything because they knew what he is going to do.” Hughes said, “Tony got to learn how to keep moving without the ball, instead of standing outside the three-point line.”

Regardless of the bitter ending, Barros was certainly one of the most reliable shooters Hughes had during the season. The guard was the first in the team and fifth in LEC with 17.8 points per game while leading the conference in steals.

Senior Eric Summerville (10 points) won praise in his regular season finale by Hughes who has mentored the guard for four years, “This might’ve been his second best game that I have seen this year.” Hughes said, “He scored 10 points. But he made other little things that kept us in the game.” Through his collegiate career, Summerville has recorded 853 points and 257 assists.

In case the Beacons advanced to the semifinals of the sudden death tournament, they would play the semifinals on Friday, February 25, against a winner of a match between University of Southern Maine and Rhode Island College. UMB will host the game at Clark Athletic Center only if Southern Maine won.