NGSC Sports

UMass Lowell snaps skid with a 87-82 win over BU

The UMass Lowell River Hawks returned to Costello Athletic Center on Wednesday night looking to get back to playing winning basketball.  They welcomed a Boston University team that was playing their best ball of the year having won four of their last five games. Would the River Hawks snap a four-game losing streak in front of the home folks?.

Backed by all five starters in double-figures, including senior guard Matt Harris reaching the 1,000 point mark for his career, UMass Lowell got back to their winning ways with an 87-82 win over the Terriers. They improved to 6-5 on the year.

This game would not be easy for the home team. They would give up 56 points in the paint, most of those scored by BU. Big man, Max Mahoney, who torched the River Hawks inside all game long, scored a career-high 29 points on 14-18 shooting. The six-foot-eight-inch sophomore who was making his first career start for BU made the most of it by collecting 11 rebounds and three blocks shots for his first career double-double. As River Hawks forward Josh Gantt (11 points, 4 rebounds) said afterward ” he was tough to handle, he finished everything”.

UMass Lowell won this game in a couple of different areas. First, at the foul line where the River Hawks were a stagging 28-36 from the line. Harris, who had team-high 27 on the night was 11-12 himself from the line. Boston University, who came into this game as the worst free throw shooting team in the country at .545%, could only get to the line nine times while making four.

The River Hawks also won the turnover battle with a plus three on the night (BU 17, Lowell 14). It would lead to 20 points scored off those mistakes by UMass Lowell. They also held the Terriers to 33% shooting from three-point land (6-18), while Lowell was 9-21, 43%. Despite those statistical advantages, this game would come down to the final minute.

The first half saw the River Hawks struggled from the field early on, shooting just 3-10 with 11:56 left in the half. Lowell would take their second lead of the first twenty minutes on a quick 5-0 run. An old-fashioned three-point play by Harris was followed by a Shawn Jones layup. 14-13 Lowell. Boston Univerisity came right back to take their largest lead of the half, a 12-2 run finished off by a three from Tyler Scanlon gave BU a 26-18 advantage with 4:16 left to play.

The River Hawks responded with a 13-2 spurt of their own, Harris with five to go along with back to back three point makes by Gantz and Ryan Jones (10 points, 7-9 from the charity stripe), gave Lowell a 31 to 30 lead with a 1:30 left until halftime. The Terriers would score the final four points in the half to take a 34-31 lead at the break.

UMass Lowell opened the second half by going on an 11-2 run, with four points coming from Jahad Thomas (17 points) and Rinardo Perry, four free throws (16 points on the night). At the time, it gave UMass Lowell their biggest lead of the game at 42-36 with 16:45 left. Two free throws by Thomas would give the River Hawks their first double-digit lead of 69-59 with six and a half left. When Gantz knocked down a three to keep the lead at ten 73-63 with four minutes remaining in the game, fans were starting to feel pretty good about this one.

But the Terriers would not go away, they chopped the lead down to five 75-70 on a Scanlon three and a Cedric Hankerson layup (20 points on 8-19 shooting) with three minutes to play. Lowell bumped the lead back to seven on foul shooting by Thomas and Ryan Jones 77-70 with two minutes left. BU guard Wil Goff hit a huge three to cut the lead to four 77-73 with 1:48 left. Lowell’s ability to knock down foul shots kept the lead at six 81-75 with 37 seconds left in the ballgame.

In the closing seconds, the River Hawks almost gave the game away. First, Mahoney hit a jumper to make the score 81-77 with 35 ticks left.  The ensuing inbounds pass to Harris was stolen by BU Scanlon who fed Hankerson who then drilled a three-ball from the right side 81-80 with 28 seconds left. Any hopes of a Terriers comeback were dashed at the foul line as the River Hawks made six straight free throws in the final seconds to seal the win 87-82 over Boston University now 4-5 on the year.

UMass Lowell Head Coach Pat Duquette was pleased with his team’s effort. He liked the way the offense was run and said his team did not force plays and play good premiere defense all night. Guard Matt Harris said he likes the way the team came out and played with energy.  The team now has 10 days off before their next game to take care of finals and get some rest.

 

The River Hawks return to the court on Dec. 23rd vs Central Connecticut State.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: