Opponent: Brigham Young Cougars
Leauge: West Coast Conference
After their defeat to Minnesota a day prior, UMass Faced Brigham Young at the home of the Brooklyn Nets in a final consolation game of the Barclays Center Classic. BYU previously lost to Alabama in the other semifinal of the tournament and came into the matchup with a 3-2 record.
With what is becoming a concerning trend for the Minutemen this season, the squad found themselves in yet another early hole. Thanks to the play of Forward Yoeli Childs, BYU jumped out to a 9-0 lead just three minutes in and it appeared as if the Minutemen would be returning from the big apple winless. Yet, UMass stayed resilient and chipped away, eventually tying the game at fifteen. Shortly after, the Minutemen stretched the lead to double digits (33-21) after a twelve to one run highlighted by a number of Chris Baldwin threes. Baldwin continued to show his improved stroke from the outside as he hit two threes for the third game in a row, a major improvement from a season ago. The teams traded baskets in the final four minutes of the half and UMass went into the break with a ten point lead (38-28).
Early in the second, BYU kept things close, eventually cutting the difference to four, but getting no closer as UMass had every response to an onslaught of Cougar offensives. With just under five minutes left, A Carl Pierre three pointer stretched the advantage back to ten and the game appeared all but won. Yet, in a two minute span, the Minutemen simply fell apart. Due to a number of ill advised shots and turnovers, BYU was gifted hope and they capitalized with a ten to zero spurt of their own. In the blink of an eye, the game was tied. The Minutemen appeared rattled but Junior leader Rashaan Holloway remained calm and came through in the clutch. Finding themselves down three with 13.7 seconds remaining, the big man converted an and-one to tie the game 66-66. As a result of lingering injuries, Holloway has struggled the majority of the season thus far, but poured in his best performance to date with sixteen points and eight rebounds. All the Minutemen needed was a defensive stand to send the game to overtime, but they couldn’t get it. A quick screen allowed BYU guard, Janshire Hardnett to get into the paint, forcing Baldwin to leave his man and help the immediate threat. Hardnett dropped the ball off to a wide open Yoeli Childs who slammed it through with authority to give the Cougars a two point lead with just 4.1 seconds left. A Pipkins heave fell just short and BYU prevailed with the victory.
This marks the second loss of the season by three points or less for the Minutemen and surely stings even more due to the fact that they held a lead for the majority of the game. UMass shot better from the floor as well as from the three point mark, but struggled mightily on the boards as they were out-rebounded forty-three to thirty-one. Notably, BYU recorded thirteen offensive rebounds despite both Rahsaan Holloway and Chris Baldwin pulling down eight apiece. This speaks to the importance of the guards helping out on the glass in future games to come. The Minutemen look to stop the losing slide and get back on track, November 29th at 7:00 P.M, with an away game against the Quinnipiac Bobcats.
Final Score: 68-66
Team Stats: UMass BYU
Field Goals: 23-52 (44.2%) 24-66 (36.4%)
3 Point Field Goals: 5-14 (35.7%) 4-18 (22.2%)
Free Throws: 15-20 (75%) 16-20 (80%)
Rebounds: 31, 6 offensive 43, 13 offensive
Assists: 15 17