NGSC Sports

UMass Lowell skid hit four in loss to Harford 84-73

The UMass Lowell River Hawks have run into a bit of a funk, losers of seven of their last eight games and three in a row.  They were hoping to turn it around on Wednesday night by making the trip to Hartford, Conn. to take on the Hartford Hawks. The Hawks were looking for a win to match last season victory total of nine.

 

Backed by four players in double figures, the Hawks did indeed match last year’s total with an 84-73 victory over the River Hawks. The win improves their record to 9-8 overall and 2-1 in the America East. The victory was a by-product of great shooting at the free throw line, as the Hawks were 15-17 for the game, and were punished in the paint outscoring the smaller River Hawks 56-26.

The River Hawks did give themselves a chance to do something they have not done in almost an entire calendar year, win on the road. The early stages of the first half saw UMass Lowell jump out to a lead thanks to some hot shooting from their starters. One, in particular, was Josh Gantz, as the forward knocked down three three-pointers in the first ten minutes of the half. He would finish the game with a career-best 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting. The River Hawks would create their largest lead of 28-19 on two free throws from Matt Harris. Then, the Hawks made a defensive switch getting out of the man-man and going to a 1-3-1 zone.

It proved to be a beneficial move on the part of the home team. Hartford’s defense would force the River Hawks into making turnovers that the Hawks would turn into scoring opportunities and took their first lead with three minutes left before halftime on a John Carroll basket 37-35 Hartford. Carroll finished with game-high honors of 24 points. The Hawks would keep the lead into the intermission at 41-38.

The second half saw both teams have chances to take the game over,  but neither did. The River Hawks went on a 6-0 run to retake the lead at 49-48 with just over 15:00 minutes left in the game. Hartford countered with their own 6-0 spurt to take their largest lead to that point at 57-51. Gantz would drill his third three of the night to put the River Hawks back in front at 67-66 with under eight to play.

In the final four minutes, it would be the home team that made the plays to take this one. First, a Carroll basket became a three-point play after being foul by Gantz and the FT made it 74-72. 5-10 junior, J.R Lynch, hit three straight baskets on his way to 19 points to go along with nine assists and his third make gave Hartford an 81-73 advantage and forced UMass Lowell to call A timeout with 1:02 to play. Three more free throws by the Hawks finished the night for them and win number two in conference 84-73.

After the game, coach Pat Duquette said his team “had too many defensive lapses” AND he would go on to say his team had to be better to win. The River Hawks got 16 points and eight rebounds from Jahad Thomas, and 13 from Rinardo Perry. The River Hawks return home for their next two league games starting with Saturday afternoon against UMBC. UMass Lowell now stands at 6-9 and 0-2 in America East.

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