Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass men’s basketball falls to South Carolina, drops fourth straight

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(Katherine Mayo/ Collegian)

The skid continues.

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team’s decent start has quickly slid to the 3-5 record that it sits at now after a 76-70 loss to South Carolina.

But for a while it seemed that the Minutemen’s luck had changed. They led South Carolina—a Final Four team last March—at the half 35-34, and were tied with just over 10 minutes to go. The Gamecocks (6-2) took control of the lead from there, allowing the Minutemen to only ever get within two points.

“We had gone a bunch of plays in man to man going into the time out. We went [in the] zone thinking [Gamecock coach Frank Martin] was going to think we were in man,” UMass coach Matt McCall said to the Daily Hampshire Gazette. “He called a great zone play. That got the crowd into it and it was hard to recover. We fought back and we had chances.”

UMass can be defined as a shooting-friendly team and it displayed that Saturday afternoon. Led primarily by Luwane Pipkins and Carl Pierre, the Minutemen shot 46.2 percent from beyond the arc, hitting 12-of-26 attempted threes. Pipkins and Pierre each had four, and both finished with more than 10 points; Pierre finished with 12, and Pipkins 25.

Despite finishing with four fouls, Pipkins was still on the floor for 34 minutes. C.J. Anderson was the only Minuteman on the floor longer (37 minutes).

Pipkins was one of five Minutemen to finish with at least four fouls. Both Malik Hines and Carl Pierre finished with four while Rayshawn Miller and Rashaan Holloway fouled out.

Foul trouble cost UMass its primary big man and one of its starting guards, and sent the Gamecocks to the line 29 times on Saturday.

South Carolina sank 17 of its 29 free throw attempts—the Minutemen made only four.

From the time a Holloway layup tied the game at 50 with 10:53 remaining in the game, the Gamecocks made 12 free throws. Over that stretch, the Minutemen only made one.

The Gamecocks made 5-of-6 free throws in the final 40 seconds to close the game out.

Unlike that of the second half, the conclusion of the first half went the Minutemen’s way. Trailing by 11 with just under six minutes until half time, Miller hit a three to pull UMass to within eight. A minute later and Pipkins hit another, shrinking the deficit to five.

“I thought we fought and showed some really good resilience there in the first half fighting our way back into the game. I thought our guys were prepared and excited and engaged and I thought they were ready to play,” McCall said. “I felt a good vibe from our team. They were excited to play this game and competed at a high level.”

UMass got the game to within two points, 33-32, when Pierre hit his second three with 44 seconds remaining. The Minutemen entered the half up 35-34.

With five straight home games on the docket, the Minutemen will have a chance to snap their losing streak on their home court. They’ll get their first chance to do so Wednesday night vs. Holy Cross at 7 p.m.

Philip Sanzo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo.

About the Writer
Philip Sanzo, Sports Editor
A six-run fourth inning gives UMass victory over Northeastern at Fenway Park.
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