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 men’s basketball falters down the stretch in loss to Ole Miss Monday night

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)
(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

Heading into the final two minutes of Monday night’s game against Mississippi, all the Massachusetts basketball team needed to do was hold off the streaking Rebels that had cut a nine-point UMass lead down to just two.

Minutemen guard Zach Lewis had the ball in his hands with one minute, 26 seconds left on the clock with a chance to put away Ole Miss for good. All he had to do was hit a 3-pointer, something he had done on four other occasions Monday, but this time the basketball gods were not on his side. The ball rimmed out and with it the Rebels took control.

A layup and then a second-chance tip in with just four seconds on the clock would do UMass (1-1) in as it fell to Ole Miss (2-0) 90-88 at The Pavilion in Oxford, Mississippi.

“I’d like them to have a lot of different emotions,” Minutemen coach Derek Kellogg told reporters after the game. “One is – the biggest emotion – this should hurt. This should really bother us and hurt us. And then a feeling that I think we opened up some eyes, that we can play some good basketball when we are clicking on all cylinders.”

Kellogg added: “we’re not old enough and mature enough to have not everyone on this team clicking at all times and I think that as individuals they have to look in the mirror and say, ‘did I do everything I needed to do today to help this team win?’”

Despite coming up on the losing end, there were plenty of positives for UMass. The biggest positive came in the form of freshman point guard DeJon Jarreau.

In his second collegiate game, the New Orleans native shined, going for 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Through the first two games, he leads the team in assists with 13.

“I thought him and Luwane [Pipkins] and even Chris Baldwin were really good tonight. We need everyone to catch up,” Kellogg said. “He’s a freshman guard that’s just hard to know what you are going to get all the time every play. A couple of them had the chance to be the hero and that didn’t happen tonight.”

Jarreau admitted he felt a lot more comfortable against Ole Miss than he did during the Minutemen’s 90-76 win over UMass Lowell.

“I feel like I can play like this every game. Lowell game was my first game. I was rushing things,” Jarreau said. “I was eager just to play well and that’s what hurt me. This game I came in, settled down and just played my game.”

Jarreau wasn’t the only newcomer that made his presence felt against the Rebels. Lewis scored 20 points, along with a pair of blocks and freshman guard Luwane Pipkins was strong for the second straight game, going for 18 points and four steals. Junior Donte Clark chipped in 13 points of his own before fouling out late in the second half.

UMass knocked down 13 three-pointers in the game, shooting 39.4 percent (13-for-33) from behind the arc, but it was its struggles at the free throw line that held the Minutemen back on Monday. UMass shot just 63.9 percent from the foul line, epitomized by Jarreau’s 9-for-14 mark.

Ole Miss had a balanced attack in Monday’s game with five different players going over 10 points on the day. The Rebels were paced by an all-around performance by senior Sebastian Saiz who finished with a double-double, racking up 22 points and 19 rebounds. The 6-foot-9 forward also did a good job of containing Minutemen center Rashaan Holloway, keeping the sophomore to just four points.

“We were scrambling quite a bit and I think it left the backboards open for him and I think he came up with four or five offensive rebound put-backs, which gave him some quick, easy rebounds and points at the same time,” Kellogg said of Saiz. “He’s a good player though. He’s a load down there, when you space the floor like they did, I think he’s a tough cover.”

UMass will be back in action Thursday against Temple at the Mullins Center. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @aaucoin34.

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