PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The UMass Lowell men’s basketball team (1-3) dropped an 82-74 decision at Brown (1-2) on Friday in the first of three games for the squad at the Brown Bears Tipoff Classic.
“Well, unfortunately, it was too much like Tuesday night, where we just had a bad spurt in the first half, and let them get a lot of open shots and really get their confidence,” said Head Coach Pat Duquette. “We gave up 45 points in the first half and that’s just too many. We aren’t going to win a lot of games, especially on the road, defending that way. Again, we played really well in the second half, played gutsy, and got back into the game and then just didn’t make our free throws down the stretch.”
Sophomore Obadiah Noel (Frederick, Md.) tied a season-high with 17 points, as the River Hawks outshot the Bears, 47 percent to 43 percent, in the outing. Redshirt-senior Josh Gantz (Grove City, Ohio) added to the offensive effort with 16 points, while senior Ryan Jones (Rio Rancho, N.M.) chipped in with 10 points and a team-best five assists. Redshirt-junior Christian Lutete (Silver Spring, Md.) led the team on the glass with nine boards, as well.
The Bears took advantage of early fouls by UMass Lowell, jumping out to a 6-0 edge, but the River Hawks quickly regrouped and responded with 13 straight points, including consecutive threes from Lutete, Gantz, and freshman Alex Rivera (Lowell, Mass.), to take their first lead of the day.
UMass Lowell maintained at least a two-point margin until Brown scored seven in a row to pull in front, 18-16, with 10:36 remaining in the first half. Rivera and Gantz would combine for five points to give the visitors the lead once more, but the home squad regained the upper hand, 23-21, at 8:15. The River Hawks were within one following a dunk from Noel with less than five minutes left in the period before the Bears put together a 16-2 run in the waning minutes to take a 45-30 margin into the break.
Coming out of halftime, Jones connected with Noel for a big slam, sparking a 16-4 River Hawk run that featured four different scorers and closed the gap to just 51-46 with 13:50 still to play.
Despite trailing by as many as 13 in the final period, the River Hawks continued to show their resilience, cutting the difference back to seven on three occasions, including with just a minute to go on a free throw by Jones, but the Bears were able to secure the 82-74 outcome.
The Brown Bears now own a 4-0 advantage in the all-time series between the two teams. The River Hawks play two more games at the tournament this weekend, including vs. Army West Point tomorrow, Saturday, November 17, at 3:30 p.m.
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