It was a big step up for the MCLA men's basketball team on Saturday afternoon. The result, however, was disappointing.
Hayden Bird had nearly half of his team's points, as Pat Duquette's UMass Lowell River Hawks routed MCLA 109-45 in the Costello Athletic Center.
Bird scored 20 points on 7 for 17 shooting, and he was 6 for 15 from 3-point range. The rest of the Trailblazers were 9 for 50 from the floor and 2 for 14 from 3-point range.
All eleven members of Duquette's squad that hit the floor got on the scoreboard. Kalil Thomas and Darion Jordan-Thomas led the way with 17 points each. Jordan Thomas had a double-double, pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds.
"I'm pretty happy with the win today and the way we played," Duquette said in a release. "I thought we stayed true to ourselves and our identity, and played the way we want to play on both sides of the floor."
Lowell went practically wire-to-wire in the victory. Max Brooks, who at 6-foot-7, is at least three inches taller than the tallest MCLA player, scored in the paint after the opening tip-off.
MCLA tied the game when Brooks fouled Bright Afful going to the basket, and Afful made both free throws. One minute later, Thomas hit the first of his five 3-point baskets, and UMass Lowell never trailed.
Thomas was 5 for 7 from outside the arc, but the other River Hawks were a combined 4 for 15.
In the early stages of the first half, it seemed like coach Derek Shell's squad had an answer each time Lowell threatened to break the game open. Quentin Gittens, who scored six points, and had four rebounds and a game-high five assists, hit back-to-back jumpers. The second cut the MCLA deficit to 13-6. Thomas answered with a trey, and the River Hawks were on their way.
Noah Yearsley had eight rebounds to lead the Trailblazers, but was only 2-for-13 from the floor.
The Trailblazers could not get much going defensively, as Lowell committed only five turnovers.
With the win, UMass Lowell is now 7-4, while MCLA wraps up its first semester with a 5-6 mark.
The Trailblazers are off until after Christmas. They'll head for New York City for a game against 4-5 CCNY on Dec. 29. In CCNY's last game, it lost to Trinity 87-56.