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

Rhode Island thumps UMass in sloppy affair

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian
Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

KINGSTON, R.I. — Rhode Island’s tried this before.

For three seasons, the Rams have bull rushed the Massachusetts men’s basketball, each time making subtle dents in UMass’ armor. The Minutemen absorbed the blows but never wilted, defeating URI seven straight times – three of which came last season. No matter the ferocity of the Rams’ charge, UMass held its ground.

But on Wednesday night, before a delirious home crowd at the Ryan Center, URI stomped its feet and prepared to attack. This time, things were different. This time, the Minutemen had no chance of holding their ground.

URI knew it, but so too did UMass, which stumbled and flubbed its way to a 75-59 defeat to the Rams. It was never pretty, and for most of the second half, never very close. And a slumped, reeling Minutemen team never responded.

“I thought we got outplayed tonight,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “I thought Rhode Island beat us in a lot of the facets of the game that we had been playing a little bit better at … on this particular night, they were better than we were.”

UMass and URI entered tied for first place in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings, while the Minutemen entered on a six-game win streak. Both teams spoke of the importance of winning Wednesday – after all, conference seeding and dreams of an NCAA tournament bid were at stake.

However, only the Rams showed the closing ability and aggressiveness of a team ready to trade slugs with the conference’s best.

UMass committed 18 turnovers which led to 21 URI points, shot 14-of-25 from the free throw line and was out-rebounded 35-27. The Rams led by as many as 18 points in the second half and held the Minutemen’s senior duo of Cady Lalanne and Maxie Esho to seven combined points.

“Missed free throws, turnovers, free throw block outs, the small things that win games we just didn’t do tonight,” Kellogg said.

“It was definitely frustrating,” Lalanne said. “We go over it in practice all the time … we just let some loose.”

The Minutemen managed to whittle the 18-point deficit down to 58-49 with seven minutes, 26 seconds remaining after UMass guard Jabarie Hinds hit a jump shot, stole the ensuing inbounds and made a layup in a quick span.

For a fleeting moment, the Minutemen had an opportunity to somehow climb back into the game. But Rams guard Jared Terrell answered 10 seconds later, nailing a mid-range jump shot to quell the run.

“I felt it was a window,” Hinds said. “But our turnovers killed us. It led to them making easy buckets. If we didn’t have those turnovers, the outcome probably would’ve been different.”

Kellogg said Terrell’s jumper was important for URI, and when the Minutemen’s full-court defense is playing well, opponents tend to miss those types of shots.

URI responded with an 11-2 run, taking advantage of a badly missed 3-pointer from UMass guard Trey Davis and a turnover from Donte Clark. Rams forward Hassan Martin punctuated the run with a two-handed dunk after beating the Minutemen defense down the floor, making it 67-51.


UMass couldn’t muster consecutive stops defensively in the second half and never developed a threat in the post. Hinds led the Minutemen with 17 points while Derrick Gordon added 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists, but the lack of a post-presence was detrimental.

“We didn’t do a good enough job of getting (Lalanne and Esho) involved,” Kellogg said. “Maxie was foul trouble related, he only played 14 minutes. I think you guys know in the games where he’s played limited minutes, we haven’t played quite as well.

“We just didn’t do a good enough job of getting Cady the ball … we’ll have to get him the ball in better positions the next couple of times.

URI’s E.C. Matthews had a team-high 16 points, while Terrell added 14 and Martin added 11 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

This week was the Minutemen’s toughest stretch of the season, and it only gets more difficult. They’ll travel to Virginia Commonwealth Saturday with postseason aspirations on the line.

“We’re going to go down there and fight,” Kellogg said. “I don’t know about must-wins. Our team is going to go down there and scrap and try to get a victory.”

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

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