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

Minutemen blown out by St. Bonaventure in A-10 opener

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team opened its conference schedule with a resounding thud on Saturday, taking a 98-78 humbling at the hands of St. Bonaventure.

The Minutemen (7-7, 0-1 Atlantic 10) were lit up for nearly 100 points in Olean, as the Bonnies (11-2, 1-0 A-10) rode some red-hot outside shooting and spectacular play from their guards to a blowout win.

Senior guards Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley were selected to the pre-season All-Conference First Team in October, and for good reason; the dynamic backcourt duo combined for 60 points on Saturday, torching UMass all afternoon.

“We did a poor job defensively,” said UMass coach Matt McCall, “especially on [Adams and Mobley]. But even still, going into the half with a nine-point deficit, they had two runs in the first half that we responded from. Obviously frustrating, didn’t think we played our best, and I thought we lacked aggressiveness, and really got out-hustled, out-worked, out-toughed.”

Adams dropped 32 points to lead all scorers, and he was electric inside and out—going 4-6 from three-point land to show off his range and slashing down the lane to finish at the rim at will, while adding seven assists to complete a masterful performance.

Not to be outdone by his backcourt partner, Mobley had 28 points of his own, hitting five triples on the day to help lead a Bonnie barrage from deep that saw St. Bonaventure hit 55.6 percent from downtown.

“[Adams and Mobley] take a lot of shots,” McCall said, “and not all of them are great, they’re not all clean looks; but they’re such dynamic scorers that if they get a crack and they get a look, now they’re into a rhythm, now the basket opens up even more.”

After the Bonnies jumped out to a 23-10 lead, UMass went on a 15-1 run to take its only lead of the day with just over six minutes left in the first half. St. Bonaventure then went on a run of its own to take a 47-38 lead into the half.

The Minutemen quickly cut that lead to five, but the Bonnies responded and pulled away in the second half on the backs of their star guards.

The Minutemen struggled immensely defending in transition, as Adams and Mobley were content to take the space they were given to rise up from three on the break and punish UMass over and over.

“We talked a lot about getting the ball stopped, you can never have your heels below the three-point line on Jaylen Adams,” McCall said. “Now they’ve got two of those guys, and you’ve got to account for both of them.”

The Minutemen were far from impotent on the offensive end—78 points marks their third-highest total of the season—but 17 points from Luwane Pipkins and a career-high 16 from Malik Hines were simply not enough against a high-powered St. Bonaventure offense.

“We got to get a lot better,” said McCall. “I thought our frontcourt players did a poor job calling out coverages, especially when [Mobley and Adams] had the ball in their hands, and you can’t rely on your offense. Offense wasn’t the problem, any time you give up a century in someone’s building, you’re not going to win too many games.”

The 20-point drubbing is the biggest loss of the season for UMass, and the highest point total the Minutemen have conceded by a wide margin—a tough start for a team looking to make some noise in the A-10.

UMass will try and right the ship on Wednesday, returning home to host George Mason in the first game of 2018 on Jan. 3.

Tip-off at the Mullins Center, initially slated for 7 p.m., has been pushed to 7:30 p.m.

Amin Touri can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Amin_Touri.

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