Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass men’s basketball drops fourth straight game, loses to Davidson 86-74

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Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

With four minutes, 16 seconds remaining in Saturday’s game, the Massachusetts men’s basketball found itself right where it wanted to be.

Donte Clark had just made back-to-back NBA-range 3-pointers to cap off a 9-0 run to give UMass (8-9, 1-4 Atlantic 10) a 69-67 lead. Losers of three straight, the Minutemen were finally in prime position to knock off one of the A-10’s top teams.

And then Jack Gibbs happened.

Gibbs scored 14 points in the final 3:05, as Davidson answered UMass’ 9-0 run with a 10-0 run of its own to clinch an 86-74 win at John M. Belk Arena Saturday afternoon.

Gibbs’ biggest basket of the game was a 3-pointer at the top of the arc to break a 69-69 tie that gave the Wildcats (11-5, 3-2 A-10) the lead back for good.

“When (Gibbs) came off that screen to put them up three, that was a dagger,” UMass guard Trey Davis said. “We never got over that hump. I think that’s when things changed.”

Gibbs finished with 43 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, marking his third game this season with at least 40 points and his sixth with at least 30.

“He’s a good player. I thought that at times the refs gave us some questionable calls, but other than that I respect him. We talked during the game and he’s a good player. I like his game,” Davis said.

Despite a slow shooting start, Davis did his best to keep the Minutemen within striking distance finishing with 30 points. Davis shot 9-of-23 from the field and sunk eight of his 16 3-point attempts after making just four total in UMass’ last three games.

As a team, the Minutemen attempted 37 3-pointers, converting on 12 of them. Aside form Davis’ eight, both Jabarie Hinds and Donte Clark each finished with two made 3-pointers. UMass’ 37 attempts were the most on the season, surpassing the previous season-high of 31 in a 82-65 win against Clemson Nov. 23.

“I think that at the start of the game, it was hard to get it going. We were moving the ball, but we weren’t making our shots. I think we were 0-for-10 from 3-point, but as the game got going, we came around and we started to play well, move the ball around and those shots went in,” Davis said.

He added: “I think the shots were there, they just weren’t falling. They weren’t going in at the start of the first half. We came around, things got going.”

After trailing by as many as 11 in the first half, the Minutemen inched their way back as Davidson took a 35-34 lead into the locker room. Hinds scored 12 of his 16 in the first half while Clark was held scoreless.

Despite the four-game losing streak, Davis said he believes UMass can turn its season around, especially with a weeklong break before the Minutemen host Saint Louis next Saturday.

“You just have to stay in it. Stay together and keep your head up. I watched (former UConn stars) Shabazz Napier and Kemba Walker, they were eighth in the conference and came back and won a national championship. Those are the things that I look at,” Davis said.

“We have a week of practice before our next game. We’re going to get better on the defensive side and keep going.”

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

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