UMass men’s basketball gets the three-ball rolling to help defeat Northeastern

Carl Pierre and TJ Weeks combine to go 6-of-11 from three


Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

By Frederick Hanna III, Collegian Staff

Relative to the outline of the state of Massachusetts on the Mullins Center floor, Sean East swished a full-court shot from the Atlantic Ocean to end the first half on Tuesday, which electrified the crowd and saw the team rush into the locker room with a restored feeling of energy and confidence.

It was that type of night for them.

The 3-point shot was rolling for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team as they pulled off an impressive 80-71 win against Northeastern.

Tre Mitchell, Sean East, Carl Pierre and TJ Weeks combined to go 11-of-21 from beyond the arc, and together as a team UMass (3-0) shot 13-of-27 from deep which was a huge boost for the team.

“There’s going to be nights where we make 13 [threes] and then there’s going to be nights where we have to pound the ball inside,” UMass coach Matt McCall said. “When you can have those two [Weeks and Pierre] guards out there on the floor, with Tre, and know you’re posting Tre, the floor is opening up and it is big.”

Pierre finished with a season-high 18 points and dished out two assists to boot. Pierre didn’t get off to the greatest of starts, only managing to put up four points in the first half. The junior’s shooting in the second half gave the Minutemen the momentum needed to finish strong in the second half, as he shot 3-of-4 from deep and made a huge three in transition late in the second half that even McCall was surprised that he took.

“The shot that Carl hit on the break, first of all, the guts it takes to take that shot in crunch-time, but he has earned the right to take that shot because of how hard he works,” McCall said. “That’s our captain and when it left his hand, and I was like I can’t believe he is shooting that, but I felt like it was going in.”

Along with Pierre, Weeks continued his sharp shooting from beyond the arc going 3-of-4 from deep for UMass. The freshman guard nailed a 3-pointer with 6:24 left in the second half with increased the lead for the Minutemen to 10 and really gave them a commanding lead. Weeks managed to put up double digits for the second time in his third game thanks in part to his 3-point shooting.

The three-ball was working all night for the Minutemen and was the reason they got out to a hot start. Mitchell started the game with the team’s first eight points and was 2-of-2 from three within the first three minutes of the game. The freshman finished with his first 20-point game of the season and managed to grab six rebounds as well.

“The shots were falling, and I think it just got everybody amped up and then when they [the team] came on the court they were just ready to go,” Mitchell said. “Everybody’s confidence goes up, and everybody plays harder, and then it just makes it more difficult for our opponents to come back because every single 3-pointer that we hit that they feel it with the crowd.”

UMass improved their 3-point shooting from the first half to the second half, and nearly doubled their shooting percentage from deep, shooting 35.7 percent in the first half and 61.5 percent in the second. After struggling from three in the game against Fairfield, the Minutemen knocked down big threes against Northeastern that proved to be the key in the win.

The Minutemen take on Central Connecticut State on Saturday at the Mullins Center with tip-off scheduled for 1 p.m.

Frederick Hanna can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @FrederickHIII.