River Hawks freshman guard Jordyn Owens said it best after his team blew out St. Francis of Brooklyn 94-63, “today we closed the deal.” In maybe their best outing of the season, UMass Lowell took care of business on Saturday afternoon at Costello Athletic Center. They led for all of 57 seconds of playing time putting up forty plus points in both halves. They took advantage of 16 turnovers by the visitors and turned them into 22 points. The River Hawks shot a blistering 88.9% (24-for 27) at the foul line, something that has been a problem for them in games lately. They were also able to get out and run in transition (16-1 in fast break points). The coach was happy, and so were his players and why not? UMass Lowell (5-6), defeated St. Francis of Brooklyn (3-6), 94-63.
The margin of victory is the largest of the season as they finished there eight-game homestand at 4-4. They placed four players in double-figures with one coming off the bench. Freshman Ron Mitchell had a career-high 19 off the bench for the River Hawks shooting 7-of-9 from the field. All eleven players got a chance to play and that is something that has happened few and far between this year. All in all, it was a great way to end the homestand. UMass Lowell jumped out of the gate with a 9-2 run. Owens had three of those points on the way to an 18-point day, which is a career-high for him. They took their first double-digit lead on two free throws by Obadiah Noel (14 points), to make it 20-10 with 11:54 left in the first half. They would get it back to ten twice more at 22-12 with 10:29 left in the half, then at 42-32 with two minutes left. It reached its largest margin of eleven with 46 seconds left on a three-ball from Darius Henderson, who made the only three-point shot of the half for the River Hawks. The team was 1-for-7 from deep, 14.3%, and it was 45-36 at the break.
The second half was all River Hawks as they took control and never let up. The lead became twenty on a Mitchell layup in the paint. Lowell had 46 points in the paint for the game. With 6:30 left it was 74-54. It reached thirty on another Henderson three-point make with 1:19 to play at 91-60. Then, Mitchell ended the game with a jump shot with ten seconds left to make the final score UMass Lowell 94 St. Francis of Brooklyn 63.
Afterward, coach Pat Duquette was happy about the win, and why not? But he was most pleased with the way they won the ballgame. He thought the second half “was the best we have played.” Graduate senior Christian Lutete (25 points, 9 rebounds) was asked about his team’s play on the homestand. He said, “it tested us and we are a lot tougher today, more battle-tested.” That will be needed when the River Hawks go back on the road for the first time in a month to face NJIT on Wednesday night. St. Francis had only one player in double-figures, senior Deniz Celen had 15 points and eight boards