Opponent: Rhode Island Rams
League: Atlantic 10 Conference
From the get go, it was evident that URI had a superior talent advantage and they established momentum early. In the first three minutes, the Rams forced the Minutemen in to a ridiculous six turnovers to set the tone. As a reuslt, URI raced out to a 9-2 lead heading into the first media timeout. It was perhaps the worst shooting performance of the year in a half (7-32; 21.9%) for UMass, and URI capitalized as back to back threes by Jared Terrell and Stanford Robinson stretched the Ram’s lead to 20-6 just eight minutes into the contest. The following possession Chris Baldwin crashed the offensive glass to tap in a missed layup by Carl PIerre. In fact, if there was one positive in the first, it was UMass’ aggressiveness on the glass as they recorded ten offensive rebounds. Unfortunately, they failed to convert on second chance opportunities, missing easy put backs and settling for jumpers on the additional possessions. With four minutes remaining in the half, Unique Mclean converted a tip in layup to finally break this trend and cut the deficit to just ten (28-18). Yet, URI would respond with a 12-2 run to end the period and go into the locker room with a 40-20 Lead. It was a dismal showing by the Minutemen with Carl Pierre and Luwane Pipkins combining for a measly four points.
The Second half was more back and forth with Pipkins starting to establish himself on the offensive end, but the Minutemen never broke through to make it a competitive ball game. Any time UMass climbed within fourteen points, Terell or Robinson seemed to have an answer. Terrell finished with a game-high twenty-four points and Robinson chipped in one of his best performances of the year with seventeen points and twelve rebounds. Additionally, UMass struggled with the interior presence of Andre Berry and Cyril Langevine, who both altered shots in the paint all evening. The Rams closed out the game easily with a score of 73-51 to remain perfect in conference play.
The Minutemen finished with nineteen turnovers and shot a dismal 19-59 (32.2%) from the floor, which is not going to cut it against the best in the conference. As noted, Pipkins and Pierre struggled mightily, only managing to score thirteen and five respectively. C.J. Anderson added ten points and was the most consistent player for UMass on the night. Offensive rebounding was fantastic for the Minutemen and something to look for in the future.
Final Score: 73-51 URI
Record: 10-9 (3-3)
Team Stats: UMass URI
Field Goals: 19-59 (32.2%) 25-58 (43.1%)
3 Point Field Goals: 5-18 (27.8%) 6-19 (31.6%)
Free Throws: 8-15 (53.3%) 17-21(81.0%)
Rebounds: 37 (14) 44 (14)
Assists: 8 17
Turnovers: 19 15
It was clear that UMass had no business being in this game, but few to none expected them to be. Ir was a learning experience and something the Minutemen should build from as they turn to the back end stretch in what has been a very good season for what expectations were thus far. The team is back home at the Mullins Center this Saturday, January 20th, at 2:00 PM versus the Saint Louis Billikens.