UMass men’s basketball’s struggles continue in 73-63 loss to George Mason

UMass lose fourth straight Atlantic 10 game

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Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

By Frederick Hanna III, Collegian Staff

With just under 14 minutes remaining in the second half, things began to look promising after Carl Pierre drilled a 3-pointer to increase the lead to nine for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team.

It was second half struggles though that saw the Minutemen lose their fourth straight game in Atlantic 10 play. A strong end to the first half gave a glimpse of victory for the Minutemen (7-12, 1-5 A-10), yet a dominant performance from George Mason (13-6, 2-4 A-10) in the second half pulled them away to a 73-63 victory.

“They shot 29 free-throws, we shot 18,” UMass coach Matt McCall said. “Obviously, a huge stat in the game is the rebound margin. We wrote on the board before the game, [when] they win, they’re plus six on the backboard, when they lose they’re minus eight. That was a big stat.”

It was a tale of two halves offensively shooting the three ball as the Minutemen struggled to get anything going from the beyond the arc. After shooting a stellar 54.5 percent from three-point range in the first half, the Minutemen struggled in the second half only shooting 25 percent.

On the stat sheet, the scoring gap between UMass players was huge, with only Tre Mitchell and Carl Pierre finishing in double digits. Mitchell finished with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Pierre finished off with 23 points shooting 50 percent from deep. Aside from the duo of Mitchell and Pierre, the highest scorer on the night was sophomore Dibaji Walker with just six points.

“We gave up 47 [points] in the second half but I think a lot of that was at the free throw line, and we got to do a better job pick and roll coverage wise,” McCall said. “We can’t have Tre and Carl, both in double figures, and nobody else is really even close.

“Someone else has to step up for us offensively. Sometimes out there it feels like we are playing a little two-on-five, and we got to have that third and that fourth guy that are producing for us offensively.”

When things were tied at 47 apiece with seven minutes to play, the Patriots went on to outscore the Minutemen 26-16 to end the game and pulled ahead due in part to the dominant performance they got from Javon Greene, who finished with 32 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field and going 13-of-16 from the free throw line. Greene outscored the Minutemen at the free throw line single-handedly and was the game’s leading scorer.

“Early on in the season you always knew what you were getting out of TJ [Weeks], Carl and Tre, and now with TJ being out that handcuffs us at times offensively and we have to find that third and fourth guy each and every night,” McCall said. “We’re going to need somebody else to step up and score the basketball for us.”

UMass heads back to the Mullins Center for a matchup against Duquesne on Saturday with tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m.

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