America East Conference

UMass Lowell Pounds UNH 92-77

The UMass Lowell River Hawks went to Durham, NH on Tuesday night looking to snap a seven-game losing streak at the hands of the UNH Wildcats.  The task was made even more difficult because it was senior night at UNH.

But that did not stop Jahad Thomas as the senior from Williamsport, PA. went off. He scored a career and league-best 40 points on 15-for-21 from the field, 9 of 10 from the free throw line, and 1-for-2 from three. He would get help from his mates, as three other River Hawks finished in double figures. UMass Lowell ends the regular season with an impressive 92-77 win on the road.

The win allows the River Hawks to wrap up play in America East winners of three of their last four games. With postseason play set to begin on Saturday, they are playing some of their best ball of the season at the right time.

It is a much different story for the Wildcats, who will now head into the conference tournament losers of five straight, and six of their last seven games.

The first half, which saw three ties and four lead changes, also witnessed a milestone as UNH’s senior Iba Camera grabbed his 1000th career rebound.

A 7-0 run by the River Hawks gave them an early 15-9 advantage. Thomas, who finished the first half with 20 points, scored four of the seven. The Wildcats put their own string of points together later in the half with a 5-0 run that gave them the lead at 34-32.

The River Hawks answered that with a 5-0 spurt of their own, with Thomas accounting for all of the points. A two-point basket was followed by a three-point play and it tied the game for the third and final time in the half at 41-41.

The Wildcats finished the half by outscoring UMass Lowell 8-6, to take a halftime lead of 49-47. The 49 points were the most that UNH had scored in a half against any Division 1 opponent this year.

The Wildcats bench was also a big help, outscoring the River Hawks bench by a 19-5 count. If it had not been for the scoring of Thomas and Ryan Jones who combined for 32 points, UMass Lowell would have been in some serious trouble.

In the second half, the River Hawks took over the contest.  An 11-1 run with Jones dropping seven of the eleven points gave the River Hawks a 63-55 lead. Jones finished with 18 points on the night.

While the offense was heating up, the River Hawk defense was getting stops holding UNH scoreless for 3:30. UMass Lowell would gain a double-figure lead for the first time at 70-58, on an and one from Connor Bennett who came off the River Hawks bench and contributed 11 points.

For the remaining ten minutes of the second half, UMass Lowell was able to keep the lead at or above ten points. The Wildcats had no defensive answer for Thomas, who was scoring at will on the inside. He was also getting help from Bennett on the blocks, while Jones and Rinardo Perry were getting the job done on the perimeter.  Perry ended his night with 11 points.

The River Hawks get their third conference win on the road, 92-77 over UNH. They ended their season at 6-10 in league play and 12-17 overall. In the quarterfinals of the America East tournament, they will head to UMBC to play on Saturday.

For the Wildcats, they got 18 points from senior Tanner Leissner, a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds from Camera, 10 points from Elijah Jordan, and 11 points from Jordan Reed. Their season ends at 6-10 in the league and 10-20 overall. They too will play on Saturday at Hartford.

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