UMass basketball escapes South Florida with first road win behind strong

  • UMass forward Dyondre Dominguez, shown earlier this season, had 15 points against South Florida. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/29/2022 9:30:46 PM

Dyondre Dominguez scored a game-high 15 points off the bench, as the UMass men’s basketball team answered every University of South Florida charge to win its first true road game of the season 73-67 on Tuesday in Tampa, Fla.

The Minutemen led by double digits most of the second half, as they held the Bulls to 41 percent shooting from the floor and 20 percent from 3. UMass (5-1), which has won four games in a row, outscored USF 34-15 off the bench.

Selton Miguel gave USF life late with a fast break layup that cut UMass’ second half lead, which soared as high as 15, to 71-63 with 2:18 remaining. The Bulls narrowed it as close as seven with a Sam Hines Jr. free throw at 1:34, but RJ Luis answered with an offensive rebound and a putback for the Minutemen. Luis, a freshman, scored 14 points with six rebounds.

Tyler Harris, who led USF with 15 points, hit a 3 with 24 seconds on the clock to cut the deficit to 73-67, but the Bulls couldn’t muster another point as the Minutemen held on.

“Really disappointing how we played the last four-and-a-half-five minutes of the game. We looked like a bunch of second graders out there. We quit defending, quit rebounding,” UMass coach Frank Martin said. “Our attention to detail and personnel was really bad. We’re lucky we got a win here. When you win you find some positives in that.”

Five Minutemen reached double figures. T.J. Weeks Jr. contributed 13 points, Wildens Leveque notched a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds and Matt Cross scored 13 points with three steals. Point guard Noah Fernandes scored just three points but led UMass with nine assists.

UMass turned the ball over 20 times, which led to 21 points. 

“You don’t want to keep turning the ball over and having them get a chance to catch up in the game and try to get a win, but we’ve just got to keep focusing on simple details of whats going on and when is the right time to do something,” Dominguez said. “Just kee

Hines first pulled the Bulls within single digits in the second half with a layup at 12:02, then Tre Moss hit a 3 to cut the deficit to 47-41 less than 30 seconds later, the closest they’d been since the 3:30 mark of the first half. But RJ Luis responded with a wide-open 3 that gave the Minutemen more breathing room.

Leveque followed with his second triple of the game to push UMass’ lead to 13 with 9:33 left. He didn’t even attempt a 3 in his first three years at South Carolina.

UMass surged last in a first half filled with runs to lead 40-25 at halftime. The Minutemen outscored USF 25-6 over the final six minutes of the half. Freshman RJ Luis threw down two dunks: a one handed hammer after Rahsool Diggins threaded him a perfect pass through traffic with 2:03 on the clock and a two-hander on the fast break a minute and a half later.

T.J. Weeks Jr. hit the first basket of the game when he splashed a 3 for UMass, but USF responded with 10 points in a row until Weeks added a layup through a foul with 15:21 to halftime.

UMass responded with a 10-2 run keyed by two Dominguez fast break layups. His second basket off the bench put the Minutemen back up 13-12 with 12:37 to halftime. That advantage stretched to 19-12 a few minutes later when Matt Cross finished a fast break layup up and under the basket.

“Our transition buckets were the most crucial. They’re not really a good getting back and running efficiently team,” Dominguez said. “Us doing that and getting out to run and forcing them to keep running back and forth helped us a lot.”

USF guard Tyler Harris put the Bulls back ahead 20-19 with a stepback jumper with 6:38 remaining in the first half. 

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