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November 16, 2017

DeJon Jarreau late 3-pointer gives UMass men’s basketball a thrilling victory over Temple

(Mayank Mishra/ Daily Collegian)

(Mayank Mishra/ Daily Collegian)

On a night when an old Atlantic 10 rivalry was renewed, both the Massachusetts and Temple men’s basketball teams played a game that lived up to the hype. Seventeen lead changes that culminated with a DeJon Jarreau go-ahead three put the Mullins Center crowd into a frenzy as the Minutemen were able to hold on to win 70-67.

Jarreau had success driving to the basket all night earning the majority of his 16 points in the paint. So when Zach Lewis passed him the ball with 34 seconds remaining in the game and Minutemen (2-1) down by two, Jarreau, who was behind the 3-point line, had a decision to make.

After an initial move forward that forced Temple’s guard Quinton Rose to take a step back, Jarreau decided to pull up and attempt the three for the lead.

He hit it and the Mullins Center exploded.

“It felt good,” Jarreau said. “That’s big, big. I always wanted to hit a game-winner, a go-ahead bucket. I always wanted to do that, so to do it in college, that’s fulfilling my dreams right now. I’m just happy I could be able to take that shot and be confident in it.”

A missed go-ahead three from Daniel Dingle that would have given the Owls (1-2) the lead bounced off the rim falling straight into the hands of Luwane Pipkins. Pipkins then launched it to Jarreau who was waiting on the other side of court ready to lay it in and effectively seal the win.

Much like the go-ahead 3-pointer, he made it with ease.

Coming into the game it was uncertain if senior forward Seth Berger, who has been dealing with a wrist injury, would see any time. Coach Derek Kellogg did end up calling his name and he played 18 minutes making all three field goals he attempted and bringing down two rebounds.

UMass lost a similar game to Mississippi earlier in the week; so to win a close, well-fought game against the Owls was important according to Berger.

“Yeah, definitely, because we’ll be tested like this later on during the season,” Berger said. “So to prove that we have the grit and the toughness and to win that game is huge. Like you said, it shows our toughness that can pull a game out like that where it’s going back and forth – the game isn’t won until the last second like that.”

Though the game was won by the freshman, Jarreau, it was a big 3-pointer by junior guard Donte Clark with three minutes and 21 seconds remaining that retook the lead for UMass. Obi Enechionyia had just given the Owls the lead when he hit his fifth 3-point shot of the game causing Kellogg to shout “Iso!” to his players. This put the ball in Clark’s hands who responded to Enechionyia with a three of his own.

At times, Clark thought the end of this game would look all too familiar to what happened in Oxford, Mississippi.

“I ain’t going to lie, it still felt like the Ole Miss game,” Clark said. “We kind of started fouling towards the end, I had to let my guys know like we don’t want to do what we did at Ole Miss and put them to the line and give them free chances.”

Luckily for the Minutemen, the Owls shot 44 percent from the free throw line, hitting only 7 of their 16 free throw attempts.

UMass only had two full days between its games against Ole Miss and Temple, limiting their time to practice on the mistakes they made against the Rebels.

“Well we didn’t have a ton of time to practice and go over stuff and to say, you know ‘we are going to learn from getting on the floor and doing things,’” Kellogg said. “We mentally talked about it, I think the guys really took how we closed out the last game to heart and so to see them kind of just play. You don’t have to tighten up, it’s a college basketball game, ‘go play.’”

Despite the exciting ending, the Minutemen still have much to improve. They committed 18 turnovers and had multiple errant passes that often killed drives.

“I’m getting old fast, just so you know,” Kellogg said jokingly, “There are some things going on out there, but it’s good. I think we’re going to be in a lot of tight games. It’s just one of those things. We’ve got some spurtability, but we also have some mistakes, so if we can cut down on… What are we averaging, 20 turnovers a game now? We need to get that down to 13, 12. Or 13, 14 depending on how fast we’re playing.”

The Minutemen will be headed to Worcester Sunday to play Holy Cross in the DCU Center.

But as far as this one goes, Kellogg put it as, “That was obviously a UMass Temple game to say the least.”

Philip Sanzo can be reached at psanzo@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo.

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