After the Massachusetts men’s basketball team scored only 12 points in the first half Thursday night against Rhode Island, Trey Davis wasn’t going to allow a repeat performance in his final game at Mullins Center.
Davis carried UMass (13-17, 6-12 Atlantic 10), scoring 20 of his 27 points in the first half Saturday to give the Minutemen a 69-52 win over La Salle on Senior Night in their final game of the regular season.
However, as good of a first half as it was for Davis, he then passed the torch off to fellow senior Jabarie Hinds, who scored 12 of his 13 points in the second half after shooting 0-for-5 from the field in the first half.
“I’m happy for our seniors and for the fans that came out tonight. I thought our guys played a good game,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said after the win.
“It was nice to see Trey lead us in the first half and Jabarie carry us in the second half.”
Davis, Hinds and Donte Clark (17 points) combined for 57 of the Minutemen’s 69 points Saturday night.
“When we’ve won and played well, those guys have gone back and forth. And then you throw Donte in the mix, who had 17, and that’s a pretty good three-man group that can score the basketball,” Kellogg said.
With nine minutes, 24 seconds remaining in the first half Davis hit a deep 3-pointer to give the Minutemen an 18-16 lead. Davis then scored 12 straight UMass points over the next 8:55 before C.J. Anderson converted a layup with 1:29 remaining in the first half.
“Yeah it was pretty good,” Davis said of his performance on Senior Night. “I can’t complain, I had some good numbers out there and I played well and played hard and that’s all I can really ask for.”
After breaking a Mullins Center scoring record back on Dec. 16 with 40 points in a 103-95 overtime win against New Orleans, Davis joked after the game about going for the record after his 20-point first half.
“Yeah I was feeling it. I don’t know if I was gunning for it. If I was gunning for it, I probably would have taken 10 more shots,” Davis said. “We were just having fun out there. My shot was feeling good, just putting it up.”
Although it wasn’t a record-breaking performance for Davis, he did set a new career high – and game-high – with 12 rebounds.
“I was just out there rebounding. I didn’t know it was 12, but hey, 12, that’s a good number.” Davis said with a grin.
While Hinds jumped out to quick eight points in the first six minutes of the second half, his best play of the night didn’t come on a basket of his own. It was on making an extra pass.
With 13:07 remaining in the game, Hinds had an open look for 3-pointer with an Explorer (8-21, 4-14 A-10) defender closing out on him on the wing. Rather than taking the contested shot, Hinds dished it to a wide-open Seth Berger in the corner, whose 3-pointer gave the Minutemen a 14-point lead.
In addition to Davis and Hinds’ performances, midseason walk-on Chris Lydon made his first career start, finishing the game with two minutes played.
Prior to the game, Kellogg wasn’t sure whether or not to start Lydon with Saturday’s game having serious implications on UMass’ standings in the A-10 seeding.
“On my ride over to shootaround I was texting some of the coaches saying, ‘Hey, you know, what do you guys think of me starting Chris because I’m probably going to do it.’ They chimed in and I listened to one of them, didn’t listen to one and went with what I was doing,” Kellogg said.
“I had a couple of plays in the bag for him and the whistle blew too quick. It was nice to see him start and he’s been a good addition halfway through the season. Call it superstitious, customary, whatever, I thought you got to start your seniors.”
The Minutemen’s fourth senior honored, Tyler Bergantino, finished with three rebounds and two blocks in his 16th consecutive start at center.
Andrew Cyr can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.