Tre Mitchell leaves UMass basketball’s loss to Davidson with shoulder injury

  • UMass sophomore center Tre Mitchell battled pain throughout UMass’ 69-60 loss to Davidson on Sunday at the Mullins Center. He left the game with 2 minutes, 42 seconds left after hurting his shoulder. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass guard Noah Fernandes converts a layup through traffic to help the Minutemen build a lead, but visiting Davidson won 69-60 on Sunday at the Mullins Center. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass redshirt freshman TJ Weeks Jr. sank 4-of-5 3-pointers against Davidson on Sunday at the Mullins Center. He tied for the team lead with 16 points. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/24/2021 4:38:35 PM

UMass may have lost more than a men’s basketball game against Davidson on Sunday.

The visiting Wildcats prevailed 69-60 at the Mullins Center, and center Tre Mitchell left the game with 2 minutes, 42 seconds remaining with a shoulder injury. He leapt for a rebound between Kellan Grady an Luka Brajkovic, and his left shoulder was tied up with Brajkovic. Immediately after the whistle blew, Mitchell stumbled to the courtside seats clutching it. He went to the locker room with UMass’ medical staff, and didn’t shoot the ensuing free throws.

“His shoulder was hurting. He took a big shot there,” UMass coach Matt McCall said. “Tre’s a warrior. If Tre could have shot those free throws, Tre would have shot those free throws.”

McCall didn’t have an update on Mitchell’s status after the game.

The Minutemen trailed by nine points at the time. Davidson (10-5, 6-2 Atlantic 10) was in the middle of a 14-1 game-sealing run. The Wildcats made six of their final eight shots, and they outscored UMass (5-4, 4-2) 42-28 in the second half after trailing for the game’s first 39:39.

“We allowed them to drive more. In the first half we were dictating where they went, and in the second half they went where they wanted on offense,” UMass redshirt freshman TJ Weeks Jr. said.

The Minutemen shot 33.3 percent from the field in the second half. Their 60 points were a season low, as were their 16 free throw attempts.

“Our offense got very stagnant in the second half. I thought our movement was poor at times,” McCall said. “We got into the double bonus and didn’t continue to put enough pressure on them.”

Grady led the resurgence. He poured in 20 points in the second half after only scoring two points without a field goal before halftime. The Boston native who starred as a prep player at Northfield Mount Hermon made 8-of-11 attempts and shot 60 percent from the 3-point line while adding six rebounds and five assists.

“Some of our defensive possessions, we were playing pretty good defense, and one of the best guards in the league made some difficult shots,” McCall said of Grady. “You gotta tip your hat to some of the shots he made.”

The Wildcats took their first lead with 10:21 left when Brajkovic sank a layup as part of a 10-2 run. UMass didn’t pull even the rest of the game. The Minutemen kept Davidson within a few possessions for the next five minutes behind timely 3s from Weeks (16 points) and Noah Fernandes (15). Fernandes splashed a 3 with 5:48 left that cut the deficit to 55-53.

But Davidson outscored UMass 14-1 over the next 4:50 to put the game out of reach and build a 15-point lead. Weeks and Carl Pierre made a 3 each in the final 10 seconds to put the final margin under double digits.

“We’ve got to watch the film, rally back,” Weeks said. “We’re gonna see them again.”

The first half was mostly Minutemen and all Mitchell. He compiled 12 points, five rebounds and three assists before the break, and finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Mitchell’s strong start helped UMass build a 24-12 lead in the game’s first 11½ minutes. Then he was tripped by Davidson’s Grant Huffman, who was on the floor diving for a rebound with 9:17 to halftime.

Mitchell stayed down for a bit then was helped up by his teammates. He stayed in the game for a minute and a half, assisting Mark Gasperini’s first basket as  Minuteman and hitting a 3 to go up 12. Mitchell checked out with 7:31 to halftime and received treatment on his left leg and hip on the training table.

“He was hurting in the first half. He went down hard on his leg and was dealing with some muscle tension. We tried to keep him moving and get some heat on him,” McCall said. “For him to go out here and give it a go like he did, his leg was bothering him, you could see it, shows how much of a warrior he is.”

Davidson scored five straight points while he was out, and ultimately narrowed the gap to five by halftime. It shrank to one just 48 seconds into the second frame after two Sam Mennega layups. But Fernandes gave the Minutemen some breathing room with back to back fastbreak layups through contact, converting the free throws both times.

“That’s what he does. He brings that energy every single day, he always has it,” McCall said. “That’s something we’ve got to continue to do. When we get stops we need to push the pace. Sometimes that loosens you up when you’re tight.”

The Wildcats outscored UMass by 16 the rest of the way and left with their fourth straight win. The Minutemen will spend next week in Virginia, as they play VCU on Wednesday and George Mason on Saturday.

“We hate losing,” Weeks said. “So we’re going to take this one to the chin and refocus, work on our mistakes.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrwbsk.


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