WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The UMass Lowell men’s basketball team will close out the regular season at Hartford on Thursday.
The River Hawks will visit either No. 1 Vermont or No. 2 UMBC in the quarterfinals of the America East Playoffs on Sunday, March 6. The team will lock up the No. 7 seed and head to UMBC with a win against Hartford, or take the No. 8 seed and square off against Vermont with a loss against the Hawks.
A WIN WOULD
A win would sweep the season series against the Hawks. It would also give the River Hawks their best winning percentage (.500) at the Division I level.
LEADING THE FLOCK
Allin Blunt is averaging 10.9 points per game to pace the squad. Max Brooks, who adds 10.0 points, boasts a team-best 6.0 rebounds per game and 64 blocks. Ayinde HIkim adds 70 assists and 37 steals.
LAST TIME OUT
Ayinde Hikim logged a career-high 22 points, as UMass Lowell fell, 64-48, in its home finale against New Hampshire on March 1. Hikim shot 9-for-17 from the field in the contest. Max Brooks led the team with six rebounds and added four blocks, as well.
Anthony Blunt shot 55.6% (5-9) from the field with a personal-best three, threes for a career-high 15 points against Stony Brook on Feb. 23. The sophomore shot over 50% in three of the five contests between Feb. 9-23.
Everette Hammond matched season highs with four triples and 18 points at Vermont on Feb. 26. That included a three at the buzzer to make it a one-point game.
ON HIS BLOCK
Max Brooks set a new, all-time program record with 10 blocks at UAlbany on Jan. 12. He now owns the program’s Division I single-season record, as well. He leads the conference and is 28th in the country with 2.4 blocks per game.
DEFENSE WINS GAMES
This year, Coach Duquette has made defense a huge point of emphasis for his program, which typically leads the America East in several offensive categories. The team has held two league opponents (Maine, Stony Brook) to just 50 points. So far, the River Hawks are first in the league and 45th in the country in FG% defense. The team held Fisher to an all-time program-low 38 points on Nov. 27.
PUTTING UP A FIGHT
So far, seven of the team’s 15 losses, including six conference losses, have featured double-digit lead changes. Additionally, three of the team’s last five losses have been by a margin of five points or less.
The River Hawks, who have ranked in the top two in the America East in shooting percentage for the previous three years, shot a season-high 64.4% (38-59) from the field against UMBC on Feb. 12. The team shot over 50% in its three outings between Feb. 7-12 and is currently third in the league with a 44.1% clip. Max Brooks is pacing the conference, shooting 61.5% from the field.
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