WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Graduate student Allin Blunt (Crownsville, Md.) tallied a game-high 16 points, as the UMass Lowell River Hawks (20-6, 7-4 AE) took down the Hartford Hawks (5-19), 70-48, on Monday night.
Alongside leading the team in points, Blunt also tallied three assists and three rebounds. Senior Abdoul Karim Coulibaly (Bamako, Mali) was all over the stat sheet, registering 12 points, five rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal. Graduate student Mikey Watkins (Roselle, N.J.) added a game-high seven assists and three steals. As a team, the River Hawks excelled on defense, holding their opponents to 34.6% shooting from the field.
With the win, the River Hawks reached the 20-win mark for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
The River Hawks quickly built up a lead as Blunt connected on a three and junior Max Brooks (Waldorf, Md.) threw down a slam dunk, putting the visitors ahead 7-2. Although the Hawks matched with two baskets of their own, junior Yuri Covington (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) drained a three that sparked a 15-2 stretch for UMass Lowell and gave the River Hawks a 24-8 lead with 9:15 remaining in the first.
After a triple by Hartford’s Michael Dunne cut into the UMass Lowell lead, both teams locked down on defense, not allowing a basket for over three minutes. With 5:47 to play, Coulibaly broke the scoring silence with a jumper that sophomore Cam Morris III (Alexander City, Ala.) followed with a dunk to ignite a 7-3 run for the River Hawks. In the final seconds of the half, Blunt landed a buzzer-beater three to put his team up 34-17 heading into the break.
Hartford started the second half aggressively, tallying seven of the first eight points to pull back within 11. However, UMass Lowell fought right back, as graduate student Everette Hammond (Silver Springs, Md.) hit a triple that kickstarted a 16-4 scoring stretch and gave the visitors a 51-28 lead with 11:15 to play.
Hartford continued to battle, but a 5-0 burst gave the River Hawks their largest lead of the night, 56-32, with 8:18 left in the game. The Hawks drained a three on their next possession, but the lead proved to be too large to overcome for the hosts.
Next up, the River Hawks will continue conference play as they stay on the road to take on Vermont on Saturday, February 11. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
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