By From the Boston Globe
After beating the second and third seeds by double figures to reach Saturday’s Northeast-10 Conference title game, facing the No. 9 seed was a break for UMass-Lowell.
The seventh-seeded River Hawks won their third NE-10 championship by stopping Adelphi, 73-58, in Lowell, concluding a four-round romp through the conference tournament in which their average margin of victory was 12.5 points. UMass-Lowell (20-11) will learn its seeding in the NCAA Division 2 tournament when the pairings are announced today.
Adelphi (22-11), the ninth seed, held a 29-28 lead at halftime, but the River Hawks were in total control after the break, shooting 60.9 percent from the field (14 of 23). Freshman Scotty Tavares-Taylor scored 11 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, and tournament MVP Kyle Caiola finished with 18 points, going 10 of 10 from the foul line.
UMass-Lowell picked it up defensively as well, holding the Panthers to 26.7 percent shooting in the final half (8 of 30) after Adelphi converted at a 44.4 percent clip (12 of 27) in the first 20 minutes.
“That was a very, very hard-working, good basketball team we beat in Adelphi and I’m not just saying that to be politically correct,’’ River Hawks coach Greg Herenda said on the school’s website. “In the second half, our offense started rolling and that made things easier on the defensive end.’’
Adelphi took its final lead, at 50-49, on Casey Cosgrove’s 3-pointer with 7:33 remaining, which capped a 10-2 run. The rest of the game belonged to the River Hawks. Tavares-Taylor ripped off 8 points during an 11-2 burst, and Caiola scored 11 of UMass-Lowell’s final 13 points, hitting all six of his free throws in the final minute.
“It’s hard to talk about individuals in a game like this, which was such a team effort,’’ Herenda said. “Now, we’re going dancing.’’