Gurley’s double-double not enough against BC
CHESTNUT HILL — The Massachusetts men’s basketball team hoped to prove its win over Memphis last Saturday was no fluke with a road win over in-state rival Boston College.
With two minutes, 48 seconds remaining in the UMass’ 79-67 loss to Boston College at the Conte Forum, that hope seemed possible as Sean Carter took a pass from a driving Anthony Gurley and put it in to cut the Eagle’s lead to 63-57 and appearing to give the Minutemen the momentum.
But just 17 seconds later BC’s Biko Paris found an open Rakim Sanders, beyond the arc. Sanders, who was 2-for-12 from 3-point range prior to the game, hit the 3-pointer to extend the Eagles (8-4) lead, a lead that would not drop below seven the rest of the game.
“Yeah, that was tough,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said of the play. “Rakim hasn’t shot the 3 real well, but he shoots it well against us, even last year.”
UMass (6-6) trailed by as many as 12 points midway through the second half and in the middle of a 6:44 run where they failed to make a field goal. But despite the Minutemen’s troubles from the floor, Anthony Gurley hit 5-of-6 free throws to start what would be a 7-0 run by UMass, to cut the lead to five.
With 4:31 left to play, however, BC’s Joe Trapani ended the run with his second 3-pointer of the half to put the Eagles up 63-55.
“It was just one of those nights,” Gurley said. “Every night is not going to be Christmas, so I guess we just got to find other ways to get the job done. “
Gurley finished with a game-high 23 points and his first career double-double with 10 rebounds.
Sean Carter missed his first career double-double by one rebound as he finished the night with 16 points and nine rebounds on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor.
BC was led by Corey Raji and Trapani as the two combined for 34 points in the second half. Trapani had two points in the first half while UMass held Raji, the Eagles leading scorer with 15.4 points per game, scoreless in the opening half.
Raji finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Trapani had 18 points and five rebounds.
“BC made some plays when they needed to and we missed some easy ones down the stretch,” Kellogg said. “We did a good job of rebounding but at times our inexperience came through a little bit.”
Kellogg was pleased with his teams rebounding, something that was helped by the 10 rebounds Hashim Bailey grabbed in his 11 minutes on the court.
“The one thing I was happy with was that we had a 50-33 rebound edge,” Kellogg said. “Sean Carter and Hashim Bailey seem to be coming into their own.”
Ricky Harris struggled for the Minutemen for the second consecutive game after returning from an ankle injury. Harris was held to just two points in the first half to go with six turnovers as he is also adjusting to playing point guard, a new position for the senior.
“He hasn’t even really shot the ball in practice,” Kellogg said. “It doesn’t look like he’s raising up and getting as much lift as he had before the injury.”
Harris came out stronger in the second half finishing the night with 12 points on 5-of-16 from the floor and 1-of-8 from 3-point range.
UMass finished the night 3-of-21 from beyond the arc, with Gurley hitting the other two.
“We can’t shoot 3-for-21 from 3 and 14-for-24 from the free-throw line against an ACC team on their home court and expect to come out victorious,” Kellogg said. “We had some good looks that didn’t go in and we missed as many open 3s as we have in quite some time.”
The Minutemen found themselves down 26-25 going into halftime after they had a 5-0 run in the final 1:24 of the half. BC continually pulled away from UMass, but failed to create much separation until the second half.
UMass next play at Davidson to finish its non-conference schedule next Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Jeffrey R. Larnard can be reached at email@example.com.