Duquesne stomps UMass men’s basketball 96-66 in Pittsburgh
Following a five-game losing streak, the Massachusetts men’s basketball team had a reprieve in the schedule with back-to-back games against St. Joseph’s and Duquesne, whom entered Wednesday night 13th and 14th in the Atlantic 10 standings, respectively.
While the Minutemen carried themselves well against St. Joe’s, they hit a brick wall in Pittsburgh, falling to the Dukes 96-66. The 30-point differential by which they lost was not the biggest deficit of the night either. Duquesne (10-16, 3-10 Atlantic 10) had a 42-point lead with five minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the second half.
UMass (13-13, 3-10 A-10) was already in a 14-point hole when Luwane Pipkins took the inbound pass with three seconds left in the first half following a Mike Lewis II jumper. Pipkins traveled only about five feet before he had the ball stolen and picked up by Lewis II around half court. Lewis II unleashed a last second one-handed 3-pointer that banked in to put Duquesne up 51-34 at the buzzer.
That shot summed up how things went for the Minutemen. A 20-0 run in the second half over a stretch of 4:22 inflated the Dukes lead to 81-44.
Led by Lewis II and Isiaha Mike, the Dukes put on a shooting clinic, hitting 32-of-64 shots, and going 14-for-26 from 3-point range. Prior to Wednesday night’s outburst, the Dukes averaged only 33-percent shooting from beyond the 3-point line and 70 points a game — fourth worst in the conference.
Lewis II, a freshman guard, scored 31 points. After missing his first six shots from the field, Lewis II hit his next eight jumpers and ultimately finished 8-for-14, making 6-of-7 from 3-point range.
Though Mike played only 22 minutes, he managed to score 23 points and bring down a team-high eight rebounds. Mike’s perfect 3-point performance (5-of-5), helped the Dukes pull away early and build onto their lead late. Mike had two 3-pointers in the first half that helped double the Dukes’ lead from three to six each time.
The Minutemen’s story was quite different. They dug themselves into an early hole missing their first four shots, three of which were layups. This allowed the Dukes to take an 8-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game.
“I wouldn’t say it was a very good performance by us by any stretch,” coach Derek Kellogg told the Daily Hampshire Gazette. “I thought we hung around for a while early but we missed layups and easy baskets and it was just a culmination of a lot of really bad stuff on our part.”
UMass fought back and took its only lead with 15:30 remaining in the first half when C.J. Anderson’s fast break dunk put the Minutemen up 11-10. That would be the largest lead UMass would have.
Much of the Minutemen’s first half woes can be attributed to their 12 turnovers and being out-rebounded, 19-14.
“I felt that we turned the ball over way too many times in the first half,” Kellogg said. “Just some of the most careless plays you could possibly make in transition, in the half court missing layups, it was just a culmination of a lot of things.”
Duquense grabbed nine offensive rebounds, which led to 10 second-chance points in the first half compared to UMass’ two. The Dukes would end the game out-rebounding UMass 43-33.
The Dukes subbed Lewis II with 6:13 left and Mike with 10 minutes left in the game, and had much of the bench finish the final five minutes.
During this time, UMass scored 16 of the final 20 points, but still failed get within 30 points of the lead by the game’s end.
That span featured two 3-pointers from Luwane Pipkins, who finished with a team-high 16 points for the Minutemen and made four of his eight 3-pointers.
UMass will look to bounce back from its worst loss of the season this Saturday against Davidson at Mullins Center.
Philip Sanzo can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo.