UMass men's basketball team opens year with win over UMass Lowell
AMHERST — All in all, it wasn't a bad way to start the 2018-19 season for the University of Massachusetts.
"Listen, this group wants to win," UMass coach Matt McCall said after the Minutemen knocked off Pat Duquette's UMass Lowell squad 83-75 Tuesday night at the Mullins Center. "We'll cut [the tape up]. There willll be a lot that we can take from it, that we can teach out of it, and we'll get better."
Carl Pierre had a game-high 21 points for the Minutemen, and was one of four UMass players to score in double figures.
Freshman Joey Glynn scored 18 points off the bench for UMass Lowell, to lead the scoring parade. He was one of four River Hawks to score in double figures for Duquette. Freshman Bryce Daley of Pittsfield played 15 minutes for Lowell, and he finished up with two points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and two turnovers. He was 1 for 5 from the floor and 0 for 2 from 3-point range.
"The environment was unlike anything I've ever played in, so it was pretty cool," Daley said after the game. "It was special. It was fun."
The guard, who started his high school career at Pittsfield High School and later played at Phillips Exeter before graduating from Salisbury, played in front of family and friends. Duquette said he needed around 45 tickets this year.
And for Daley, it wasn't a bad start.
"I definitely wish I would have played a little better, helped my team win," he said, "because that was my focus going into it. Giving my all because at the end of the day, all I want to do is win."
It was almost a wire-to-wire win for the Minutemen, who beat Lowell 74-69 in last year's season opener.
UMass freshman Sy Chatman fouled Josh Gantz on a 3-point attempt with 12:19 left in the first half and Gantz — a redshirt senior from Grove City, Ohio — made all three free throws, giving Duquette's squad a 19-18 lead.
But the Minutemen's Rashaan Holloway answered with a hoop off an assist from Curtis Cobb.
A minute after Holloway's hoop, Gantz missed a trey, Holloway — who finished with 11 rebounds — snared the board and started UMass on the counter-attack. Freshman Tre Wood hit Luwane Pipkins in transition and Pipkins drained a 3-ball for three of his 19 points. That put UMass up 23-19.
While the River Hawks never caught up, they never surrendered either. Lowell tied the game at 34-all on a pair of free throws by Obadiah Noel with 4:34 to go in the first half.
UMass led 42-39 at halftime, and four times in the first four minutes of the second half Lowell cut the Minutemen's lead to one point, but could not get over the hump.
McCall's team lead by as many as 16 points, when Pierre hit a jumper with 6:05 left. And while the River Hawks did trim 12 points off that lead late in the second half, they could get no closer than four.
"Despite the outcome, I was pretty pleased with our effort, contributions from a lot of new guys, their first time in a college basketball game, played what I think is an improved UMass team from a year ago," said Duquette, "and handled it pretty well. I thought there were only one or two moments midway through the second period, where we made come careless mistakes and played a little out of character. That's when they were able to stretch their lead."
Three Lowell freshmen played double-figure minutes, led by Glynn's 28 minutes. Christian lutete, a transfer from Radford, had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Daley made his college debut with 14:58 left in the first half. He scored his first collegiate hoop with 9:14 left in the first half, when he turned over Pipkins and took it in for a layup.
"Bryce Daley is another freshman, who I thought came in and contributed," Duquette said in his post-game press conference. "He didn't score a lot of points, but he had five assists and five rebounds, and for me, didn't play with fear. That's the first thing when I look at my freshmen. Are they going to play fearless?
"For the most part, our guys did."
That's also how McCall felt about his newcomer. Of the 10 Minutemen who took the floor Tuesday, only Pierre and Pipkins played heavy minutes a year ago, while Holloway played regular minutes until a game against LaSalle on Jan. 10.
Jonathan Laurent, a transfer from Rutgers and Cobb, who transferred from Fairfield, were in the starting lineup. Laurent scored 10 points, had four rebounds and shared game-high assist totals with 5. He was tied with Daley. Cobb scored 12 points, had six rebounds and was 5 for 8 from the floor.
"I said it on the radio [Monday night], and I said it on the radio in the pre-game. I think this team has a tremendous amount of room for growth," said McCall. "What I mean by that is you have a lot of new guys. You've had two guys who played 38 minutes a game last year. You've got a lot of new guys who are trying to figure things out and me as a coach settling in on a rotation.
"I think there's a tremendous amount of growth for this basketball team."
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.