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

Lack of secondary scoring continues to haunt Minutemen in road loss to URI

UMass road struggles continue with consecutive losses
Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

KINGSTON, R.I. – The struggles for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team on the road have not gone unnoticed, with even players considering their long drought without a win on the road in conference play to be a curse.

What doesn’t help when on the road is when your leading scorer has almost half your team’s points and for the majority of the game the remaining players are in single digits with scoring.

That was the case for UMass (9-14, 3-7 Atlantic 10), who struggled to get any offensive production from the rest of the team aside from the dominant performance that Tre Mitchell had, and led to URI (16-5, 8-1 A-10) edging out a 73-67 victory.

“I mean, we scored 67 points,” UMass coach Matt McCall said. “We had a couple wasted possessions too and live-ball turnovers that we just handed them.

“Again, with a young team you’ve got to still continue to learn. If we come down the floor and something’s working, if we come down the floor and he just hit his last shot, we’ve got to come down and find him again. There was one time late in the game, we threw it ahead to Preston — that’s no knock, it was a good shot for Preston — Carl was wide open on the back side too. We’ve just got to continue to learn that, but you’ve got to take what the defense gives you. We scored 67 points and we had ourselves in a position to win, but we didn’t make enough plays down the stretch and really didn’t get enough stops down the stretch too, was the difference in the game too.”

Aside from a final 3-pointer made by Carl Pierre, the Minutemen had one scorer in double digits and that was T. Mitchell. His offensive outburst led him to a season-high in points with 30 along with five rebounds and three assists.

The Minutemen shot themselves in the foot early after missing multiple layups and fairly low contested shots to start the game, and this led to URI capitalizing on their mistakes. The Rams got out to an early 10-2 lead due in part to missed baskets and careless turnovers. Kolton Mitchell got the nod for the start, but after a couple of turnovers and foul trouble, McCall made the quick substitution of putting Sean East in for K. Mitchell. East quickly made his impact on the offense with a couple of assists and ran the offense to some success in the midst of an ugly spree of basketball being played in the middle of the first half. East finished going 2-of-8 from the field and couldn’t really seem to get anything to fall. He made a contested three that he put up with the shot clock running down, but aside from another layup made he couldn’t get his floater to fall.

Along with East struggling to get shots to fall, so was Carl Pierre, who although finished with 10 points and six rebounds, couldn’t manage to find himself out of the way of Jeff Dowtin. Dowtin from URI was tasked with most of the defending on Pierre. Pierre finished 1-of-3 from the field in the first half and didn’t get a shot off until late in the first half. Dowtin locked down Pierre from three and managed to not let him take an uncontested shot from deep.

“I think I did get some good looks, I just got to knock them in,” Pierre said. “I think these are just the looks I’m going to see for the rest of the year, and I’ve got to be ready for that. Teams are going to look to face guard me, try and run me off the line. I think I’m prepared for that.”

UMass finished going 4-of-19 from beyond the arc and shot 47.5 percent from the field. Keon Clergeot had a spurt of offense production that led him to a quick six points, but careless turnovers from him led URI to easy buckets on their end. Samba Diallo snuck in a few last-minute baskets under the rim, but only finished with eight points. URI as a whole had balanced scoring all around and finished with three players scoring double digits. That was the key for the Rams who spread the scoring around.

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

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