River Hawks embark on four-game road swing this week
November 18 vs. Sacred Heart (1:30 p.m.)
LOWELL, Mass. – The UMass Lowell men’s basketball team, who is 1-1 on the young season, will head out on a four-game road trip this week. The squad first visits Central Connecticut State on Tuesday, November 13 at 7 p.m. before traveling to Providence for the Brown Bears Tipoff Classic on Friday-Sunday, Nov. 16-18.
LAST TIME OUT
Sophomore Obadiah Noel totaled 17 points to help propel UMass Lowell to a thrilling, 88-84 victory against Wagner in the squad’s home opener on Nov. 10. Trailing by three with 45 seconds remaining in regulation, the River Hawks battled to knot the score at 73-73 and force overtime. In the extra period, redshirt-junior Christian Lutete and freshman Alex Rivera drained back-to-back threes to create a two-possession buffer. The Seahawks were able to cut the difference to just one on two occasions, but Lutete pulled down a vital rebound and sank a pair of free throws in the final seconds to secure the victory.
LEADING THE FLOCK
Through two games in 2018-19, Christian Lutete is leading the team with 15.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. Josh Gantz, who boasts a team-best three blocks and three steals, and Obadiah Noel, who is shooting 87.5 percent from the foul line, have chipped in with 14.5 points apiece. Ryan Jones ranks first on the squad with 12 assists, as well.
SCOUTING CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE
The Blue Devils went 1-1 last week to open the new season. The squad defeated Hartford, 75-68, on Nov. 6 before falling, 85-78, at Georgetown on Nov. 10. Tyler Kohl owns a team-best 24.5 points per game. with 10 assists, while Ian Krishnan adds 17.0 points per game. Deion Bute is pacing the team on the boards with 9.0 rebounds per game. As a team, CCSU is shooting 47.9 percent (57-119) from the field in that contest, including 43.8 percent (14-32) from three-point territory, and 69.4 percent (25-36) from the foul line.
BROWN BEARS TIPOFF CLASSIC
The River Hawks will play three games this weekend at the Brown Bears Tipoff Classic. The squad will first take on host Brown on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before squaring off against Army and Sacred Heart in neutral-site contests on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The River Hawks garnered national attention for a highlight from the win against Wagner. An impressive, reverse dunk by Obadiah Noel off of an alley-oop from Ryan Jones with less than a minute to go in regulation checked in at No. 7 on ESPN’s SportsCenter that evening. It marked the team’s first time making the SportsCenter Top 10 during the Division I era. The play was also featured on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown as part of Randy Moss’ You Got Mossed segment.
SNAPPING THE SATURDAY SKID
The Wagner win marked UMass Lowell’s first Saturday victory in over a year, since February 4, 2017, snapping an eight-game skid.
OPPORTUNISTIC IN OVERTIME
After an exciting, come-from-behind victory against the Seahawks, the River Hawks are now 6-3 in overtime at the DI level.
The River Hawks play 18 games away from friendly confines in 2018-19, which matches a Division I high for the program. Following the season opener, UMass Lowell has accumulated a 93-131 road record since 2003-04.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
UMass Lowell overcame a 10-point, second-half deficit against Wagner to win overtime. Since beginning 2014-15, 25 of the squad’s 44 wins have been decided by seven points or less. The team has also trailed in the second half in 27 games during that same time frame before battling back to earn the victories.
In the two games of 2018-19, the River Hawks have averaged 27.0 points off the bench. This is up almost 12 full points from last season when the squad averaged just 15.3 bench points per game.
With 17 points and 11 rebounds, Christian Lutete became the first River Hawk to tally a double-double in their debut at the Division I level. He then added another against Wagner and is now tied for second in the nation with two double-doubles in 2018-19.
SPREADING THE LOVE
Despite heading into 2018-19 having lost 60.6% of their scoring from a season ago, the River Hawks have boasted four different double-digit scorers in both of their first two games this season.
The River Hawks may be young in 2018-19, but the team as a whole is significantly taller. With an average height this season of 71.1 inches, this year’s squad is almost a full inch taller than last year’s.
CLOSING IN ON A MILESTONE
Ryan Jones needs just 35 points to join the school’s prestigious 1,000 Point Club. He would become the 42nd member of the club all-time and just the third at the Division I level.
One key to the River Hawks’ balanced scoring has always been their ability to share the basketball, as witnessed by the team’s 20 helpers dished out in the season opener at UMass. The squad is currently ranked second in the league with 19.0 assists per game. Individually, Josh Gantz and Ryan Jones are tied for first in the conference with a 6.0 assist/turnover ratio.
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