The University of Massachusetts may have experienced two losses Sunday afternoon.
One came on the scoreboard, as visiting Davidson rallied from a 12-point deficit in the first half to beat UMass 69-60 at the Mullins Center. The more important loss, one that is not certain, could involve center Tre Mitchell.
Mitchell, who finished with a team-high 16 points and nine rebounds, left the game with an apparent shoulder injury with just under three minutes to play. Trainer Dave Maclutsky and team physician Dr. Pierre Rouzier walked with Mitchell into the tunnel under the stands. Mitchell did not return.
"His shoulder was hurting," UMass coach Matt McCall said. "His shoulder was hurting."
Mitchell collided with Davidson's 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward Sam Mennenga while battling for position under the UMass basket. Mitchell was in obvious pain, and after being checked over, headed off the court. Mitchell was fouled on the play by Luka Brajkovic, but Ronnie DeGray III had to take the two free throws, making one of two.
"He's with our doctors and trainers now," McCall said in a Zoom call with reporters about 30 minutes after the end of the game. "We'll have an update, I'm sure, within the next hour or so. I don't have an update in terms of what exactly it is right now."
The Minutemen, now 5-4 and 4-2 in the Atlantic 10, are going to need Mitchell healthy for this week's games. UMass will head to VCU on Wednesday and then to George Mason on Saturday. Both VCU and Mason had wins on Saturday. With its win, Davidson (10-5, 6-2) takes over second place in the Atlantic 10 standings. UMass and VCU both have 4-2 records.
"We allowed them to drive more in the second half," said UMass' T.J. Weeks, who finished up with 16 points off the bench. "In the first half, we were dictating where they would go. In the second half, they were dictating where they wanted to go on offense."
McCall said the effort on Sunday was good, but the execution in the final 20 minutes was lacking.
"Our offense got very, very stagnated in the second half," McCall said. "It'll be very interesting to see the number of passes we had and our movement. I thought our movement was poor at times. We got to the double-bonus and didn't continue to put enough pressure on them."
The opening 12 minutes might have been as well as UMass had played all season. Mitchell hit a jumper from the right corner to put the Minutemen up 4-2. That lead that was extended to 24-12 when Mitchell drained a 3-point shot from deep along the right wing. That ended up being the high point of the day.
Davidson answered with a 14-3 run to get back in the game. Some of that time was without Mitchell, who hit the court hard with 7 minutes, 30 seconds left in the half. Maclutsky worked on Mitchell's leg, and while the center did return to the game, the Wildcats had snatched the momentum away.
It was 32-27 at halftime, as Mitchell had 12 points and Weeks had nine. Carter Collins and Nelson Boachie-Yiadom each had eight points to lead Davidson, while Massachusetts native Kellan Grady had only two. Those two points came from the foul line, as the Northfield Mount Hermon product was 0 for 2 from the floor. Grady, who was defended for the most part by Dibaji Walker, did have four assists in the first half.
That all changed in the second half. Davidson battled back to tie the game at 42-all with 13:31 left. Grady, who scored 20 of his 22 in the second half, rebounded a miss by Mitchell and took it to the basket for a hoop. That forced McCall to call time with 13:28 to go.
While Weeks scored on an off-balance drive a minute later, Davidson answered with six straight points, taking the lead for keeps.
Grady did not singlehandedly win the second half, and by extension, the game, but he was close. The 6-foot-5 guard was 8 for 9 from the field in the second half.
"Grady got going, starting with the drives," said Weeks. "Once he started feeling it, he started hitting some threes."
"We were playing some pretty good defense, and one of the best guards in the league made some difficult shots," McCall chimed in. "You've got to tip your hat to some of the shots he made."
The Minutemen, who made only 9 of 27 shots from the floor in the second half, were still in the game with six minutes to play. Noah Fernandes, who had 15 points but only two assists, caught a pass from Mitchell and drained a 3-ball from the left corner. That made it 55-53.
On UMass' next offensive possession, Mitchell was fouled by Boachie-Yiadom. The UMass center missed the front end of the 1-and-1. After Mennenga got the rebound, Davidson coach Bob McKillop called time out. He drew up a play for Grady, who drained a trey to make it 58-53, and the Minutemen never got close enough again.
UMass will have to regroup in a hurry. The Minutemen will have a road game at VCU in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday night, and will then play Dave Paulsen's George Mason Patriots on Saturday.
"We've got to get the offensive piece corrected," said McCall. "We can't go through long scoring droughts. We've got to see what we're doing there in those types of situations to generate [offense]. We've got to look at everything we're doing."
Weeks summed things up more succinctly.
"We hate losing," he said. "We're going to take this one on the chin, refocus, come down and be ready for VCU."
DAVIDSON (10-5, 6-2)
Grady 8-11, 3-5 22, Mennenga 5-11 0-0 11 Lee 2-6 4-4 8, Collins 3-7 2-2 8, Brajkovic 4-6 0-0 8, Boachie-Yiadom 3-5 1-1 8, Jones 2-3 0-0 4, Huffman 0-3 0-0 0, Jones 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-52 10-12 69.
UMASS (5-4, 4-2)
Mitchell 6-18 3-6 16, Fernandes 4-7 6-6 15, Pierre 1-7 2-2 5, DeGray III 1-7 1-2, 4, Walker 0-1 0-0 0, Weeks Jr. 6-10 4-5 16, Garcia 1-3 0-0 2, Gasperini 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 20-56 12-16 60.
Halftime: UMass 32, Davidson 27. 3-point baskets: Davidson 5-18 (Grady 3-5), UMass 8-22 (Weeks 4-5). Rebounds: Davidson 34 (Mennenga 7, Grady 6), UMass 29 (Mitchell 9, Fernandes 5). Assists: Davidson 18 (Grady 5), UMass 12 (Mitchell 4). Turnovers: Davidson 11 (Collins 3), UMass 9 (DeGray III 2, Fernandes 2). Fouls: Davidson 18, UMass 14. Fouled out: None.