PROVIDENCE, R.I. -
University of Massachusetts men's basketball battled back and forth with Providence College but was unable to overcome a slow start to the second half in a 75-69 loss at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Saturday. Rashaan Holloway
paced UMass with 21 points, including 17 in the second half, while Luwane Pipkins
scored 20 with 18 of those points earned on six made 3-pointers.
"That was a tough road game for us," head coach Derek Kellogg
said. "If we could have limited a few more of our mistakes and made a few better basketball plays, I think we could have been right there at the end. But I liked the way our guys fought when we got down."
Holloway finished one rebound shy of his first collegiate double-double while he added two blocks and a steal. Pipkins' six made 3-pointers mark the most by a Minuteman in 2016-17 and the highest output since Jabarie Hinds
had seven against Duquesne in a 108-99 overtime win on Feb. 14, 2016.
Providence controlled the opening minutes of the second stanza and turned a 29-28 halftime advantage into a 58-42 margin following a Jalen Lindsey 3-pointer with nine minutes, 32 seconds later. However, Massachusetts stormed back to within one possession of tying as the Minutemen worked the ball in to Holloway near the basket.
Holloway scored 11 of his 21 points during the 7:15 stretch while Pipkins opened up the floor with a pair of 3-pointers as well. Holloway completed an and-1 play ahead of a layup and two free throws for seven consecutive points as Massachusetts moved within 66-63 of Providence with 2:09 to go.
"I've been on him quite a bit to just work," Kellogg said of Holloway. "If you just work at his size, good things will happens," he said. "For us to be a next-level team and compete against teams like this every night, we have to have some inside presence where we can throw the ball to him and get some baskets. I think he provided that for us. It looked like some of the games he played in the last five games last year."
However, Providence answered with back-to-back scoring plays from Emmitt Holt to pad the lead to 70-63 with 53 seconds to play. The Maroon and White did not pull closer than six points the remainder of the way.
"We just have to look at this as a game where they came out and wanted it more," Luwane Pipkins
Massachusetts returns home and continues the Gotham Classic with a Tues., Dec. 13 game against North Carolina A&T at the Mullins Center at 7 p.m. Follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@UMassBasketball).