Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass men’s basketball defeats Harvard Tuesday night to move to 2-0

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(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

CAMBRIDGE — Rashaan Holloway didn’t know what to make of the situation when he and the rest of the Massachusetts men’s basketball team took the floor for warm-ups.

As UMass (2-0) came out of the locker room for its normal pregame routine, the crowd constituting of predominantly Minutemen fans at Lavietes Pavilion gave them a standing ovation.

“During warm-ups, I came up to Tyler (Bergantino) and I was like, ‘There’s going to be a lot of people.’ And he was like ‘Yeah, mostly our fans.’ I didn’t notice it until we came out onto the court and I was surprised. I came out and heard a lot of people cheering. It was confusing. I was just laughing it up,” Holloway said.

While it wasn’t a home game for UMass, its fans got their money’s worth as the Minutemen sought off a late second half surge from Harvard to defeat the Crimson (1-2) 69-63 Tuesday.

“That was crazy. The UMass fans came out to support us. I liked that show of love,” Minutemen point guard Jabarie Hinds said.

Hinds led all scorers with 24 points, 20 of which game in the first half on 7-of-13 shooting including four 3-pointers, in a contest where Donte Clark (2-of-11) and Trey Davis (5-of-14) struggled to find their rhythm offensively.

“I was hot. I was feeling it,” Hinds said with a smile. “From the jump I was feeling comfortable seeing how they were guarding me. In the offseason I was working on my shot. I was confident. I was putting them up and they were going in.”

Leading by as much as 15 in the second half, Harvard cut the Minutemen lead to 61-59 with two minutes, 30 seconds remaining after a 19-6 run for the Crimson ending with a pair of layups from Evan Cummins and Agunwa Okolie.

However, UMass forward Seth Berger matched Harvard with a pair of layups of his own to push the Minutemen’s lead to six, just enough to put the Crimson out of reach.

“I thought that was a good effort by our team. One of the things that I’m looking for from this team is to see if they are going to give me effort. I think that’s the first step of them being able to be coached and do some things. I thought we gave a great effort tonight,” coach Derek Kellogg said.

After playing limited minutes in the season-opener against Howard, Holloway contributed with eight points on 4-of-4 shooting and five rebounds in 21 minutes of play after Malik Hines fouled out with 5:13 remaining.

Supporting a 335-pound frame, Holloway showed his ability to finish around the rim including a fancy euro-step layup with 8:29 remaining to end an 8-0 run by Harvard.

“That was just awesome,” Kellogg said.

It wasn’t just Kellogg who loved the move as the entire UMass fan base roared throughout the gym at the nimbleness of Holloway.

“It gave me a big lift, that support. People actually trust that I can make a difference in the game.

So I felt good about myself,” Holloway said of the crowd falling in love with him.

Holloway added: “I was a little winded before I did that. When I got that one, I didn’t even feel it anymore. I stayed in the game for like another three minutes. I was like, ‘All right, this is college basketball. This is how it feels. This is it. I’m here.’”

The Minutemen took a 38-34 lead entering the half with both teams exchanging leads for much of the first 20 minutes of play. They shot just 12-of-38 (31.6 percent) in the first half while Harvard matched with an unimpressive 10-of-31 (32.3 percent).

Zena Edosomwan led the Crimson with 18 points while their only other player in double figures was Corbin Miller, who finished with 11. Harvard shot just 5-of-27 from beyond the arc.

“One great thing is I think it’s a good rivalry. It’s a game I like having on our schedule and I think it’s good for the fans. We brought a great contingency down here. It’s a good basketball environment,” Kellogg said after the game.

“Obviously we won, and I’m feeling pretty good but it’s a situation where it’s a good college basketball game to watch. Both teams played pretty hard, they missed some shots that I wasn’t accustomed to them missing.”

 

Andrew Cyr can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.

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