Opponent: Saint Joseph Hawks
League: Atlantic 10 Conference
The Minutemen traveled to face the Saint Joseph’s Hawks this afternoon looking to continue their winning ways and avoid yet another state loss to the city of Philadelphia.
UMass was scorching early on as they converted five of their first six makes from beyond the three point line. As a result, they quickly built a 17-8 lead before Saint Joseph’s found some rhythm and responded with a twelve to two run of their own catalyzed by the toughness of James Demery and Taylor Funk. At this point, the game became very tight with both teams trading offensive blows and UMass continuing their success from downtown. In fact, the Minutemen connected on ten out of thirteen threes in the first half with five different players finding the range. In comparison, the team only shot five for seventeen from inside the three point line in the first. With just under six minutes remaining in the period, Carl Pierre and Ray Miller nailed back to back triples to stretch the advantage back to six as they looked to pull away before halftime. Still, the Hawks capitalized on UMass turnovers and fought back to tie the game as the teams headed to the locker rooms deadlocked at forty-one. In what was an extremely high paced and exciting first half, both teams received contributions from a number of players. Notably, Pierre led the Minutemen with Fourteen points on four threes and Demery Paced the Hawks with eleven.
Unique McLean got UMass going in the second, first collecting a long rebound and then leading a fast break that resulted in a two handed dunk for Malik Hines. On the following possession Carl Pierre nailed another three and then a layup to re-still the Minutemen lead.Yet, with just under sixteen remaining Taylor Funk (22 points) began to take over the game on the offensive end, this time with back to back threes to tie the game once again (51-51). Luwane Pipkins (21 points) had been relatively quiet up to this point, but the crafty guard began looking for his shot and registered two aggressive driving layups in a row, the second dropping for an and one. Still, UMass continued to struggle guarding Funk who kept on cooking from the outside Fortunately C.J. Anderson (14 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) had the answer, countering with a three on the other end to equal the score (61-61) Perhaps the biggest shot of the game came from the Hawks X factor off the bench, Chris Clover (18 Points). With just a two point lead, Clover hit a contested three to deflate the UMass defense and spark what would be a thirteen to four run to eventually stretch the advantage to nine (74-65). With 1:49 left in the contest, Pierfrancesco Oliva ended all doubt. The lanky forward drove the lane punctuating the exclamation point with a one handed slam as defenders spread like the red sea. In a game that was relatively close throughout (12 ties and lead changes), the Hawks found a way to pull away easily in the end. The final score was 85-73.
The Minutemen really cooled off in the second half, only making four out of twelve of their threes and allowing Saint Joes open looks to reduce the deficit in this area. Additionally, The Hawks did a fantastic job of taking care of the ball with only two turnovers in the second and brought their gritty and aggressive style of play resulting in many trips to the free throw line. In fact, the Hawks attempted twenty free throws, compared to just a measly four for the Minutemen. Lastly, Saint Josephs was far more aggressive on the offensive glass, out rebounding UMass ten to five. Demery finished with eighteen points and was the best player on the court tonight, while Shavar Newkirk added a very complete performance of 13 points, 7 assists and 9 rebounds. UMass returns to action Wednesday, February 14th, against George Washington.
Final Score: 85-73 Saint Joes
Record: 11-14 (4-8)
Team Stats: UMass Saint Joes
Field Goals: 28-62 (45.2%) 30-65 (46.2%)
3 Points Field Goals: 14-25 10-27 (37.0%)
Free Throws: 3-4 15-20
Rebounds: 31 (5) 40 (10)
Assists: 17 18
Turnovers: 13 8