- On the strength of a late surge capped by a dunk with four seconds remaining, BYU defeated the UMass men's basketball team 68-66 on Saturday afternoon in the 2017 Barclays Center Classic. The Minutemen led by as many as 10 points with just under five minutes to go, but the Cougars used a 17-to-5 run to close out the game.
The tough ending was a contrast to the previous 35 minutes of play where UMass (3-3) used a strong defensive effort and timely shooting to maintain a lead for much of the day. Coming off the loss to Minnesota on Friday, the Minutemen scrapped throughout the game before the experienced Cougars were able to put on the late run.
After BYU (4-2) took a 66-63 lead with 21 seconds to go, the Minutemen continued to fight back as Rashaan Holloway converted a three-point play - part of his season-high 16 points - to tie the game at the 13 second mark. After a timeout, the Cougars were able to drive up the floor to find a cutting Yoeli Childs whose dunk with the four seconds to go proved the game-winner. UMass' Luwane Pipkins
tossed a half-court shot at the buzzer, but it caromed off the right side of the rim.
The Minutemen shook off a sluggish start in the opening three minutes of playing where BYU jumped out to a 9-0 lead. UMass used a pair of runs in the first half to take a 38-28 lead into the intermission.
The second half started with some early foul trouble for UMass as Holloway and Chris Baldwin
each picked up their third fouls in the opening 30 seconds of play. Malik Hines picked up his third foul nearly a minute later. The Cougars were able to make pushes to cut the double-figure deficit to as little as three, but timely jumpers and work in the paint continued to keep the Minutemen in the lead.
The lead was pushed back to 10 points, 61-51, on Pierre's third three-pointer of the day with 4:44 to go. The Cougars, however, responded with 11 straight points to take a 62-61 lead with 2:01 to go. A Holloway lay-up briefly put UMass back ahead, but BYU scored on a second-change lay-up with under a minute to go and then turned a steal into a pair of free throws going up 66-63 with 21 left in the game.
BYU's Yoeli Childs led all scorers with 19 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four blocks. Elijah Bryant notched 18 points and Jahsire Hardnett had 10 points to lead the Cougars.
Along with Holloway, Hines scored 10 points while adding three rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Carle Pierre's scored nine points, while Chris Baldwin
had eight points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. Brooklyn native Unique McLean
scored eight points including a highlight put-back dunk in his first weekend in front of the hometown fans.
The Minutemen will next be in action at Quinnipiac on Wednesday night before flying down to South Carolina on Saturday afternoon.
For complete coverage of the UMass men's basketball team, follow the Minutemen on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @UMassBasketball and online at www.UMassAthletics.com.