It was a game that was noteworthy for those who did not play, than those who did. The UMass Lowell River Hawks (5-2) defeated Fisher College by a 101-38 score. The River Hawks ended the game on a 45-9 run to pick up the victory and give their head coach Pat Duquette career win #100 at the school. The bigger news of Saturday afternoon’s game was seeing two members of the River Hawks frontcourt on the bench with boots on their feet. Max Brooks, the sophomore big man, injured his ankle late in the first half of last Wednesday’s road loss at Amherst. The good news for fans of the team is the crutches that he was seen leaving the court with on Wednesday night were not on display today. In fact, by the time the second half of Saturday’s game resumed, the boot was no longer on his foot. Good signs all around for Brooks. Connor Withers, who some say is the heart and soul of this group, is the other player sporting a boot on his foot. That injury took place before the season began and there is no word on when either player may return to the lineup.
Yesterday’s game was a bit of a breather from the five-game road trip the team just finished. They went 3-2 on the trip and the injuries in the frontcourt are starting to pile up. This game gave the coach a chance to try some things with his frontcourt rotation that may prove to be very useful down the road. The River Hawks shot almost 57% from the field with the second half being better than the first. However, their 3-point shooting is still a work in progress. Saturday, against a D-III, school they could knock down only 26% of those shots (7-for-27). That will have to get better with no low post presence. UMass Lowell used eleven players in this one and they all scored. Five of them ended their day in double-figures. They were led by Allyn Blunt who went for 18 points on 7-8 shooting from the field and was perfect from deep (2-2). Fisher had only one player in double-figures and that was Ke’Andre Penceal. The freshman scored 14 points on 6-14 from the field and 2-3 from behind the arc.
The 5-2 start is the best start for the River Hawks since becoming a D-I program. Depth has become a big part of the early-season success. A big week is coming up for the team with a home game Wednesday night vs Brown. Then they make the half-hour drive to North Andover to meet the Merrimack Warriors on Saturday night.
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