Notebook: Luwane Pipkins goes for career-high 27 points in UMass men’s basketball’s win Saturday

By Adam Aucoin

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

Throughout the first part of the Massachusetts men’s basketball season, all of the talk about freshman guard Luwane Pipkins has been surrounded around his exploits on the defensive end of the floor.

Saturday afternoon it was Pipkins’ offense that did the talking.

The Chicago native led the Minutemen with a career-high 27 points, including an 8-for-14 mark from 3-point range. His eight 3-pointers tied a UMass single-game record, which was last set last season by former Minutemen guard Trey Davis on Jan. 16 against Davidson.

Pipkins brought the same mentality he always employs offensively into Saturday’s matchup.

“[Derek Kellogg] told me just shoot the ball, so shoot ‘til you hit, shoot ‘til you miss and that’s what I did tonight. Eight 3’s, tied the record, put me in the record books,” Pipkins said.

Skinner returns home

It’s not often that a person gets to coach a game with their name hanging above them in the rafters. But for Kennesaw State coach Al Skinner, he had that opportunity Saturday afternoon at Mullins Center

Skinner is one of five men to have to his number retired by UMass (8-3), along with Trigger Burke, Marcus Camby, Julius Erving and Lou Roe. He played for the Minutemen from 1971-74, earning three Yankee Conference first team selections and scoring 1,235 points in his time in Amherst.

Skinner, who was the head coach at Rhode Island from 1988-1997 and Boston College from 1997-2010, enjoyed being able to come back to his alma mater.

“I’m always pleased to come back to UMass and play. I did so at BC and did so when I was at Rhode Island,” Skinner said. “The place has continued to grow, continued to make an investment and so it makes me feel good to see everything that’s occurring here.”

Skinner is aware of his time in Amherst and the impact he made here, but when he’s coaching he tries to remain focused on the task at hand.

“To be honest, I didn’t even look up there,” Skinner said about the fact that his number is retired by the UMass. “My focus was between the lines. I know it’s there and more importantly it’s in my heart. That’s all I really care about. I was very fortunate to have a good career and have some good teammates and have tremendous coaches, so that’s all a part of the pleasure of coming back here.”

Ray shines for Owls

Coming out of Saturday’s game most of the talk will be about what the Minutemen were able to do on the offensive end, but it was Owls guard Kendrick Ray who stole the spotlight as the top performer.

Ray scored a season-high 35 points, while dishing out four assists and grabbing four rebounds. The Middletown, New York native was a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line as well.

Minutemen coach Derek Kellogg knew Ray was going to get his points. He just wanted his team to focus on containing the guard.

“The kid’s a good player and they need him to score,” Kellogg said. “Actually, I thought our guards did a good job of staying with him, but I thought out bigger guys finally executed the game plan. When he has the ball, we’re in high alert.”

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