UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The UMass Lowell River Hawks men’s basketball team is heading back to Mohegan Sun for its second appearance at the #Bubbleville Tournament, this time against North Carolina State on Thursday.
A WIN WOULD
A win against the Wolfpack would even the River Hawks’ record at .500 this year. It would also improve the team’s record to 2-0 at #Bubbleville. A win against NC State would give the squad its second-ever victory against an ACC opponent and first since defeating Boston College, 68-66, in 2015, as well.
LAST TIME OUT
UMass Lowell turned in a valiant, complete-game effort in a 74-64 setback at No. 23 Ohio State that was decided inside of the final two minutes on Nov. 29. The teams were tied for the seventh and final time at 59-59 before the Buckeyes hit back-to-back buckets to pull ahead with five minutes left on the clock. Darion Jordan-Thomas and Obadiah Noel then each made a jumper on the River Hawks’ next two possessions to close the gap to just 65-63. However, OSU closed the game on a 9-1 run to seal the outcome. Noel led the River Hawks with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists. As a team, the River Hawks’ performance from beyond the arc helped make the game a close one, as the squad combined for 11 threes, while holding Ohio State without a long ball for more than 25 minutes of action.
LEADING THE FLOCK
Obadiah Noel, the squad’s lone senior, is pacing the River Hawks with 24.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, and 11 total assists. Connor Withers adds 10.3 point and 5.3 boards, as well. Newcomer Max Brooks boasts a team-best five blocks, as well as a field goal percentage of 69.2%.
TRUE TEAM EFFORT
The River Hawks’ took it down to the wire at No. 23 Ohio State by making it a true team effort. All nine River Hawks who touched the court in that contest scored at least a point.
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
The River Hawks have been quick to attack this season, scoring first in all three games so far, thanks to buckets from Connor Withers.
After averaging just 12.6 points off the bench last season, the River Hawks are showing off their newfound depth in 2020-21 with 24.0 point per game coming off the bench so far.
The River Hawks have typically been undersized compared to the competition, but this year’s squad combines to make up the team’s tallest roster since elevating to Division I by a half inch (77.4 inches). With this height, UMass Lowell is averaging 4.0 blocks per game for the first time at the Division I level. The squad is also ranked 40th in the country for total blocks (12).
The River Hawks, who led the America East in shooting percentage for the last two years, are pacing the league once again, shooting 43.6 percent from the field this year. The team shot a season-high 52.4% in the win against San Francisco on Nov. 25.
ON A ROLL
Obadiah Noel logged 25 points at Hartford on Feb. 15, 2020 to set the program’s longest 10+ point streak at the Division I level. Including the first games this season, he has now scored in double digits for 29 straight games and counting.
Max Brooks turned in a strong collegiate debut, scoring 12 points (5-for-6) off the bench against San Francisco. Including that performance, he leads the team with a 69.2 field goal percentage (9-13).
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