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Late game collapse allows BYU to top UMass men’s basketball 68-66

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

BROOKLYN – Things unraveled quickly for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team in its final game of the Barclays Center classic against Brigham Young, Saturday.

The final two minutes consisted of back and forth lead changes that ended in a UMass defensive breakdown with four seconds left where Jashire Hardnett found Yoeli Childs, undetected beneath the basket, for what proved to be a game winning dunk.

Having played and lost to No. 14 Minnesota a day prior, the Minutemen (3-3) were in a position to beat BYU (4-2) and walk away from the weekend with at least four wins on the year. By halftime that hope seemed like more of a reality. UMass held a 38-28 lead and had outscored the Cougars 38-19 after going down 9-0 to start the game.

“I thought it was kind of a tale of two games to be honest,” UMass coach Matt McCall said. “A game yesterday where we didn’t play inspired, we weren’t into it, almost like we weren’t supposed to be there playing against a top 10 team in the country to today really connected and really inspired in the first half. I thought obviously looking down at the stat sheet, they got way too many offensive rebounds and 50/50 balls late, we bobbled balls we didn’t grab balls, they ended up getting pretty much every single 50/50 ball late in the game, especially in the second half. And it’s hard to win that way.”

Despite a poor 1-12 performance from leading scorer Luwane Pipkins, the Minutemen outshot BYU finishing with a 44.2 shooting percentage but were outrebounded by the Cougars 43-31. 19 of BYU’s 43 rebounds came off of its own glass.

“I think rebounding is a complete effort thing,” McCall said. “It’s a mentality, it’s chasing it, it’s grabbing it, it’s hitting first, it’s when the balls on the ground – loose change, it’s not ball watching when shots go up in the air. We had some hit our hands, we just didn’t come down with them.”

Foul trouble affected the UMass front court which played well for the majority of the game. Chris Baldwin and Rashaan Holloway each had three fouls and Malik Hines had four. Baldwin, who finished with eight points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes, picked up his third 27 seconds into the second half.

Holloway put together an even better performance, scoring 16 points and recording eight rebound, though he only played 16 minutes. According to McCall it was the most aggressive Holloway has played all year.

“Rashaan was aggressive, it was the first time all year that Rashaan has been aggressive,” McCall said. “Now we have to piece it all together, now Rashaan can’t go back to not being aggressive. Today was the first game, I thought, all year where he was really, really aggressive. With post moves, when the ball was up in the air, as far as on offense, he would grab it. Only one time they slapped it out of his hands. I thought Rashaan was aggressive, I thought everybody was into the right way.”

Holloway reflected on his performance in recent games prior to the Minutemen’s contest with the Cougars.

“After the last two games I just looked in the mirror and realized that I wasn’t playing to the best of my abilities,” Holloway said. “No matter what was going on in the game, what type of game it was, I wasn’t playing the way Rashaan is supposed to play and I just came out here completely focused and tried to find ways to help my team win.”

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

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