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October 19, 2017

Minutemen lose to undefeated Seton Hall

After putting together its best performance so far this season on Saturday, the Massachusetts basketball team fell way short against Seton Hall on the road Monday night, 86-68, snapping its two-game winning streak.

The Minutemen cut a 35-point deficit to 18 after an abysmal first half in which they shot 19.4 percent from the floor, but could not stop the Pirates on defense, who recieved strong performances from a number of different players.

Senior guard Ricky Harris and redshirt junior Anthony Gurley both had 15 points for the Minutemen (4-5), but the Crusaders (7-0) remained undefeated behind impressive play by guard Jeremy Hazell and forward Herb Pope. Pope led all scorers with 22 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, going 9-of-15 from the field, while Hazell went 8-of-14 from the field and made five steals.

Gurley had five turnovers, while forward Terrell Vinson had four against the Hall who had a 44-19 lead going into the half.

Along with Harris and Gurley, the freshman class showed promise on the offensive side of the ball, with Vinson and Javorn Farrell adding 12 points and eight points, while guard Freddie Riley and forward Sampson Carter both added seven off the bench.

Vinson led the team in rebounds with seven, while Hashim Bailey and Sean Carter each had six rebounds. Vinson scored nine of his total in the final 20 minutes of the game, with the contest way out of reach for UMass.

The Minutemen were 9-of-29 from 3-point range, and missed their first 14 shots from beyond the arc, while not making one three-pointer in the first half, compared to the Pirates who were 4-of-15 from deep. UMass struggled from the field, shooting just .293, after converting 15-of-21 free throw attempts.

The Pirates started off strong, building a 16-point lead midway through the first half, when Jordan Theodore scored five straight points to give the Hall a 16 point lead with under eight minutes to go, going on a 13-2 run after only being up by five points with 11 minutes to play. They then took a 25-point lead with a jumper and Hazell’s second three-pointer of the half with under a minute to go in the frame.

UMass came out strong in the second half, especially from beyond 3-point range, converting 7-of-9 three-pointers to cut the deficit to 24 on several occasions while outscoring Seton Hall 49-42 in the second half. The Pirates offense, however, was too potent, as they took their largest lead of the game (35) with just over eleven and a half minutes to play in the second half.

The Minutemen are back in action when they host Grambling on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Mullins Center.

Notes: Harris passed Mike Pyatt to move to ninth in career scoring with 1,506 career points as a member of the Minutemen. Gurley has scored in double figures in every game this season, while Vinson scored in double figures for the fourth time this season.

David Brinch can be reached at dbrinch@student.umass.edu.

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