UMass fizzles in second half in 85-73 loss to Saint Joseph’s

  • Luwane Pipkins and the UMass men’s basketball team lost 85-73 to Saint Joseph’s, Saturday in Philadelphia. AP

Saturday, February 10, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — After foul trouble and another injury thinned an already emaciated UMass roster, the Minutemen lost their shooting legs and the 3-pointers that carried them early stopped falling.

UMass didn’t score for the final 3 minutes, 50 seconds and Saint Joseph’s pulled away for an 85-73 win Saturday at Hagan Arena.

With Rashaan Holloway ineligible and Chris Baldwin injured, the Minutemen were already lacking spare big men. But when Khalea Turner-Morris took an inadvertent elbow in the face with 8:36 left in the first half, it left the Minutemen with six available regulars. His injury forced coach Matt McCall to play Malik Hines with two fouls in the first half and the junior big man picked up his third before intermission.

Nobody fouled out, but three of UMass’ four starters — Hines, Unique McLean and Carl Pierre — had four fouls, and Luwane Pipkins had three for much of the second half.

St. Joe’s went 15-for-20 on free throws while UMass went to the line just four times and made three.

“To shoot four free throws to their 20, it’s hard to win games like that,” McCall said. “I thought our guys were unaggressive defensively worrying about fouls. Our guys got caught up in worrying about fouling. You have to play. If you foul out you foul out.”

Hines admitted whistle-fear affected his defense.

“Personally I picked up a couple fouls that I felt weren’t fouls,” Hines said. “After that I was indecisive. I couldn’t be as physical. It took a mental toll on us as a team.”

The back-and-forth first half continued early in the second as the 61-61 score with 10:54 left was the 12th tie of the game. But a 13-4 run put the Hawks in control and the Minutemen spent the rest of the game unsuccessfully trying to draw even.

Pipkins and Pierre each had 21 points for UMass (11-14, 4-8 Atlantic 10), while C.J. Anderson added 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Taylor Funk led St. Joe’s (10-14, 5-7) with 22 points, while James Demery and Chris Clover has 18 apiece.

UMass spent most of the first half making 3-pointers and committing fouls. Four players picked up at least two whistles.

But outside shooting made up for any other woes. Led by Pierre, who had four 3s, and two each by Pipkins and Anderson, UMass made 10 of 13 3-point attempts in the first half.

The teams went back and forth throughout and the Hawks scored the last four points before intermission to make it 41-41 at the break.

“I thought we came out firing and had great pop to start the game,” McCall said. “We were shooting it well from behind the arc. ... We didn’t find a way to get enough stops. When we did get stops they got offensive rebounds.”

UMass hosts George Washington, Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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