Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Curtis Cobb finds his rhythm in blowout win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff

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Curtis Cobb finds his rhythm in blowout win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Photo by Katherine Mayo

Photo by Katherine Mayo

Photo by Katherine Mayo

Photo by Katherine Mayo

By Amin Touri, Sports Editor

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Curtis Cobb really enjoys the second half.

After hitting his only shot in the first half to go into the break with just three points, Cobb came alive in the second half of the Massachusetts men’s basketball team’s 92-60 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, scoring 14 points in 14 second-half minutes and helping the Minutemen (3-2) pull away.

Cobb was extremely efficient on Monday, going 6-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from three — 85.7 and 80 percent clips, respectively — showing off his range after starting the season just 4-of-15 from deep through three games.

“I thought Curt was great,” said UMass coach Matt McCall. “Curt was guarding their best player for the majority of the night, and I thought he played the game the right way offensively. I think he may have had one field goal in the first half, obviously Luwane [Pipkins] didn’t have a field goal until the second half, and none of those guys were pressing. They continued to make the right play.”

Part of Cobb’s success was a product of UAPB’s zone defense and UMass’ ball movement, as quick passing gave the sharpshooter multiple open looks against the Golden Lions.

“We kept getting wide open looks [against] that zone because those guys were making the right plays,” McCall said. “You look down at the stat sheet: Jonathan [Laurent] three assists, Luwane 11, Carl Pierre five. That’s how we have to play.”

Cobb also flashed his court chemistry with Luwane Pipkins — the star guard finished with a 10-rebound, 11-assist double-double and threw four dimes to Cobb in the process.

“I was just telling [Cobb] to keep being aggressive, play his game,” Pipkins said. “He’s a scorer. He’s not a facilitator — he can [facilitate], but he likes to score, so if I find him he shoots. I’m happy for him. I want him to get his points.”

A quick layup gave Cobb five points early in the second half, before the redshirt junior knocked down back-to-back triples just minutes later — the second from his own offensive rebound — in the midst of one of UMass’ better stretches of the second half.

Cobb was also present in the team’s best stretch late, converting an and-one with six minutes to go, before knocking down one more three with 4:23 to go, checking out of the game with the Minutemen firmly up by 31.

It was a nice breakout game for a guy who’d averaged a little under nine points through four games, as he continues to follow quiet first halves with standout second acts.

“Coach always harps on me about taking good shots, and sometimes I just don’t see it there in the beginning,” Cobb said. “As the game goes on, they start to key in on [Pipkins] a little bit more, and then that’s when he tells me, alright, it’s time to go. And that’s when I put more shots up because I have more opportunities.”

All the while, Cobb did so in a pair of Rick and Morty socks — while Pipkins opted for gray Spiderman socks, Cobb went for a black pair with a giant image of Morty Smith’s face, paying homage to his favorite cartoon.

“Me and Pip, at the beginning of the season [decided] we’re wearing different socks basically every game,” Cobb said, “and I’m a huge Rick and Morty fan, so, had to get those.”

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

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