Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass basketball falls flat in loss to St. Joe’s

(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)
(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

If there’s one silver lining to take away from the Massachusetts men’s basketball team’s performance Wednesday night, it’s that it won’t have to travel to Saint Joseph’s again in the near future.

The Minutemen fell to the Hawks 62-56 at Hagan Arena, marking their fourth-straight loss at Hawk Hill. It was a performance that UMass likely won’t wish to have back.

“It’s big because I think it’s a game we could’ve won,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said to reporters after the game about his team’s setback.

UMass (10-9, 3-3 Atlantic 10 Conference) shot 42 percent from the field, committed 13 turnovers and shot just 3-of-12 from beyond the arc. It was a frustratingly inconsistent performance for the Minutemen in which they couldn’t score timely baskets – especially as the second half closed.

“I would say shooting troubles was one of the main things,” Kellogg said. “Not only not putting it in the basket, but taking some tough, bad shots at different junctures.”

Saint Joseph’s (8-9, 2-4 A-10) pushed its lead to 55-49 with two minutes, 23 remaining. On the ensuing possession, the Minutemen had a number of opportunities to stop the bleeding and get back into the game. Every time, they could not.

Both Demetrius Dyson and Cady Lalanne grabbed offensive rebounds on the possession and, on both occasions, missed the put-back layup. Even then, UMass’ Derrick Gordon retained possession of the ball and was fouled in a 1-and-1 free throw shooting situation.

But he missed his free throw, Dyson skied in for a rebound and missed his put-back layup and the ball kicked out of bounds. A frustrated Lalanne stomped at the ground.

“It was tough,” said Gordon, who finished with nine points but missed a layup amid the run.

“We had a lot of missed opportunities … it’s just the little stuff like that and not making our 1-footers and shots. The layup that I shot and it rolled around the rim, those are shots we’ve got to hit. It could have been the game-changed.”

The deficit continued to grow and was punctuated by Hawks guard Aaron Brown, who answered a Maxie Esho missed layup with a thunderous right-hand tomahawk dunk to push Saint Joseph’s lead to 59-49 with 66 seconds remaining.

UMass guard Trey Davis hit a pair of late 3-pointers, but it was far too late.

Saint Joseph’s DeAndre Bembry single-handedly kept the Hawks in the game. He finished with 25 points, eight rebounds and five steals and scored the Hawks’ first 15 points of the second half until his teammates finally supplemented his offense.

“I think Bembry played really, really well and took the game over in the second half,” Kellogg said. “I thought the turning point was the banked 3-pointer with no time on the shot clock which gave them a little extra juice.”

Bembry hit a high-arcing 3-point shot between two UMass defenders as the shot clock expired to draw the Hawks even at 38-38 with 13 minutes, 46 seconds remaining. It was a leaning, low-percentage shot that he banked in. It was a sign of things to come.

At Bembry’s urging, other St. Joseph’s players finally joined the fray.

He grabbed an offensive rebound and immediately hit Isaiah Miles with a no-look pass for an easy layup to go ahead 42-40. UMass would never take another lead.

“I was waiting for him to miss,” Kellogg said. “I thought we played tight defense on him a few times and he made some really tough plays … he’s one of the better players in the league, if not the best, because he does it on both ends of the floor.”

The Minutemen couldn’t find a consistent scoring threat to answer. Lalanne and Esho combined to score only 11 points. Davis led all UMass scorers with 14 points, while Donte Clark added 10.

Miles added 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Saint Joseph’s shot 48 percent as a team.

“I thought we took a step backwards today,” Kellogg said. “We didn’t take care of the ball, take good shots or share the basketball.”

Mark Chiarelli can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli.

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