UMass notebook: Luwane Pipkins shoots down nearly 50-year-old record

  • Guard Luwane Pipkins drives to the basket during UMass' 86-79 overtime win over La Salle, Wednesday at the Mullins Center. Thom Kendall Photography

  • Guard Luwane Pipkins attempts a shot during UMass' 86-79 overtime win over La Salle, Wednesday at the Mullins Center. Thom Kendall Photography

  • Guard Luwane Pipkins celebrates during UMass' 86-79 overtime win over La Salle, Wednesday at the Mullins Center. Thom Kendall Photography

Thursday, January 11, 2018

AMHERST — When Billy Tindall scored 41 points against Vermont on Feb. 10, 1968, he couldn’t have known how long that would remain UMass’ men’s basketball single-game record.

Bill Preevey’s 39 in 1952, the record Tindall broke, had lasted just 16 years.

But Tindall’s 41 had staying power. It survived the arrival of the shot clock in 1985 and the shortening of it from 45 seconds to 35 to the current 30. It survived the addition of a 3-point line and the parade of long-range shooters that followed.

It survived Julius Erving, who scored 37 points twice. It lasted through Marcus Camby, who had 38 against Dayton in his magical 1996 campaign, and it barely hung on as Trey Davis scored 40 against New Orleans on Dec. 16, 2015.

It came a month from lasting 50 years. But Tindall’s 41 is now second all time. Luwane Pipkins scored 44 Wednesday night and UMass needed every one of them as the Minutemen rallied to beat La Salle, 86-79 in overtime.

“It means a lot,” said Pipkins, who shot 15-for-27 from the floor, 6-for-10 from 3-point range and made all eight free throws. “It feels good to be part of something big in a good program. A lot of great players played here.”

A year ago, Pipkins watched an old Michael Jordan game on NBA TV. The UMass sophomore guard from Chicago couldn’t remember which game it was, only that the Bulls legend kept scoring.

“He made back-to-back-to-back buckets. I thought this can’t be real. He was going nonstop. I thought it was a highlight tape, but it was a real game” Pipkins said. “I always wanted to do it. I made it happen tonight.”

Pipkins, who already owned a share of the single-game steals record with eight, raised his scoring average this season from 18.3 to 19.8 Wednesday.

He said going back and forth with La Salle’s Pookie Powell, who had 30 points, added to the experience.

“He’s a good player obviously. He’s one of my favorite guards to watch and play against in the league,” Pipkins said. “It definitely reminded me of the Harvard game. Bryce Aiken is a great player and Pookie Powell is a great player too.”

Aiken, Harvard’s point guard who hit a game-winning 3 in overtime against UMass, had 30 in that game, while Pipkins had 23.

ANDERSON RETURNS, HOLLOWAY STILL OUT — Senior C.J. Anderson returned to action after Saturday’s one-game suspension and played 34 minutes. He had just one point, but had nine rebounds, five assists and four steals. Junior big man Rashaan Holloway’s status is unchanged. He remains suspended indefinitely, but sat on the bench in warmups, cheering for his team.

PIERRE DIVERSIFIES HIS OFFENSE — Entering the game, UMass freshman guard Carl Pierre never had a game where he even attempted more than four two-point shots. But as part of his 25 points, he was 6-for-9 from inside the arc.

“Teams know I can shoot the 3,” Pierre said. “The next step for me is to take that one or two dribble pull-up.”

SMALL LINEUP — UMass went without a big man in the lineup on several occasions, using Pipkins, Pierre, Unique McLean, Rayshawn Miller and Anderson together.

MISCELLANEOUS — Haverhill native Saul Phiri had nine points in his return to his home state. ... The loss denied La Salle coach John Giannini his 500th career win. ... McCall got his first technical foul at UMass, arguing a possession ruling on an out-of-bounds play in the first half.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage