COLUMBUS, Ohio – Freshman Connor Withers (Manassas, Va.) logged his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds in a 76-56 setback for the UMass Lowell River Hawks men’s basketball team (1-2) at No. 18 Ohio State (2-0) on Sunday afternoon.
“This was a great game for us and our program,” said Head Coach Pat Duquette. “It was a good experience for us to get good exposure, get on the Big Ten Network and play in this environment. Ohio State has some great fans and a really good program. I think we did some good things and learned about ourselves today.”
Withers also boasted four steals in the performance. Junior Obadiah Noel (Frederick, Md.) posted a game-high 15 points on the day, shooting 3-for-6 from three-point range. Graduate student Christian Lutete (Silver Spring, Md.) chipped in with nine points and nine rebounds, as well.
The River Hawks jumped out to an early lead with the help of three points from sophomore Darius Henderson (Pasadena, Calif.) and a triple from the wing by graduate student Josh Gantz (Grove City, Ohio). The Buckeyes answered with seven straight, but freshman Ron Mitchell (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Lutete forced lead changes before the home team scored six in a row to pull in front, 16-10, with 11:33 remaining in the first half.
Freshman Kalil Thomas (New Orleans, La.) and Withers would each put the visitors within a possession in the next two minutes until a 13-4 run gave the Buckeyes a double-digit edge, 31-19, at 2:55. Withers drained a pair of buckets in the waning minutes, but the home team hit a three to take a 38-25 advantage into the break.
Coming out of halftime, Noel opened the scoring with a pair of free throws and Gantz converted on an and-1, although Ohio State would stretch its margin to 50-30 early in the period.
Freshman Luka Maziashvili (Tbilisi, Georgia) recorded his first career basket on a jumper from the paint before the Buckeyes took their largest lead, 73-42, with five minutes left to play. However, the River Hawks outscored the home team, 14-3, in the final minutes with the help of four points from sophomore Joey Glynn (Portsmouth, N.H.) to cut the difference to 76-56.
Sunday’s contest marked the second meeting ever between UMass Lowell and Ohio State. The River Hawks will now play their home opener on Tuesday, November 12 when they host UMass Boston at 7 p.m.
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