UMass men’s basketball holds off Fordham in Matt McCall’s final home game

  • Rich Kelly scored 15 points as the UMass men's basketball team beat Fordham on Wednesday at the Mullins Center. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • T.J. Weeks Jr. notched a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double as the UMass men's basketball team beat Fordham on Wednesday at the Mullins Center. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 3/2/2022 10:09:56 PM
Modified: 3/2/2022 10:09:31 PM

AMHERST — Matt McCall’s final game at the Mullins Center as the UMass basketball team’s head coach was a 81-73 win over Fordham on Wednesday.

T.J. Weeks Jr. led the Minutemen with 17 points and 10 rebounds in a double-double. They outscored Fordham 34-30 in the paint.

Trent Buttrick (11 points, eight rebounds) and Rich Kelly (15 points) also reached double figures. Noah Fernandes added eight points and six assists.

Fordham erased a double-digit deficit in the second half but couldn’t put its nose ahead of the Minutemen.

“(Noah)’s a great player, a leader and you’re comfortable with the ball in his hands,” McCall said.

Darius Quisenberry tied the game at 62 with 9:33 left in the second half for Fordham. He was fouled on a layup but missed the free throw to give the Rams their first lead of the second frame. 

Buttrick snapped a 3 through 14 seconds later to restore the Minutemen’s advantage.

Fordham had three opportunities trailing by one point in the tie game to take the lead but either missed or turned the ball over every time.

The Rams previously cut it to three after making 8 of their first 14 shots after halftime, including 5-of-8 3s. Josh Colon-Navarro made it 55-52 with a 3 with 13:01 left, but Weeks responded with a triple of his own 21 seconds  later.

Fordham jumped out to a 9-3 lead early before the Minutemen settled into the game.

“I thought we were a little flat and energy-less to start,” McCall said.

Dyondre Dominguez was the first sub off the bench after Greg Jones picked up two fouls in the first three minutes and scored seven points in six minutes, appearing in his fourth straight game.

Buttrick gave UMass its first lead of the game 21-19 after he hit a wide-open 3 with 7:29 to halftime. Rich Kelly threw him a no-look, across the body pass in mid air to help create the space. It was part of a 12-2 UMass run.

The Minutemen led by as many as 13 points at the half after Rich Kelly splashed a deep 3 with 40 seconds remaining in the opening frame.

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