COLUMBIA, S.C. –
University of Massachusetts men's basketball team knocked down seven 3-pointers in the first half on Saturday against South Carolina to take a one point lead into halftime, but could not hold on as they fell at the Colonial Life Arena to the Gamecocks 76-70. The Minutemen (3-5 Overall) connected on 7-of-12 from beyond the arc in the first to build a 35-34 halftime lead while the Gamecocks (6-2 Overall) scored 18 of their 36 points in the paint in the opening 20 minutes.
The Gamecocks took early control with an 11-0 run to grab a 21-9 lead, their largest of the afternoon, with 10:10 remaining in the first half before a UMass 3-point barrage in the final half of the opening frame gave the Minutemen a slight advantage.
led the way with 25 points as the sophomore reached 20 or more in the scoring column for the fourth time this season on 10-of-20 shooting. Pipkins and Rayshawn Miller
knocked a pair of 3-pointers to cut the Gamecocks' lead down to five before Pipkins knocked down another to further cut into the deficit.
connected on one of his four 3-pointers with 0:44 remaining the first half to give cap off a 13-3 UMass run from 5:54 to 0:44 that saw the visitor grab a 35-33 advantage in a half where South Carolina shot 56-percent from the field. Pierre finished with 12 points and was one of three Minutemen to knock down multiple shots from behind the arc along with Pipkins' three and Miller's two.
South Carolina went 4:28 of gametime without a field goal in the opening moments of the second half as the Minutemen built a five-point lead after a Miller jumper and a Khalea Turner-Morris
at 48-43 before the Gamecocks tied the game up at 48 as the last UMass lead came at 12:48 remaining.
Pipkins ended a South Carolina scoring run with 8:31 remaining on an and-one play around the basket to bring the score to 56-53 before Unique McLean
knocked down the first second-half triple for the Minutemen to bring them within two at 58-56.
The Minutemen kept pushing down the stretch, pulling within after falling behind by six multiple times. C.J. Anderson
cut the lead back down to three points with 3:10 remaining with a 3-pointer out of a media timeout prior to two late triples from Pipkins and Pierre that slashed the South Carolina lead down to two with just 0:20 remaining.
Anderson tied his season-high for assists with eight while Rashaan Holloway
chipped in eight points and six boards for the Minutemen.
UMass finished 12-of-26 from 3-point range and shot 46-percent from the field compared to South Carolina's 51-percent showing from the field despite connecting on just three of 15 shots from deep.
The Minutemen will return to the Mullins Center for a two-game homestand beginning with Holy Cross on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. before hosting Providence on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m.
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