PHILADELPHIA, Pa. –
La Salle shot 55-percent from the field and nearly 60-percent in the first half as the Minutemen fell on the road to the Explorers 87-72 at the Tom Gola Arena on Wednesday night. The Minutemen (10-11 Overall, 3-5 Atlantic 10) were led by Luwane Pipkins
' 25 points on 6-of-10 from behind the arc while Malik Hines
pitched in 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
UMass came out and put together a 7-4 lead on a Carl Pierre
layup and a C.J. Anderson
3-pointer in the early moments of the contest. Pierre added 11 points for UMass to go along with three rebounds and four assists.
La Salle responded by making three straight shots from the field to go ahead 21-11 with just over 11-minutes remaining in the half before a Rayshawn Miller
jumper ended a 6-0 run. The Explorers opened the night on 9-of-14 from the field for 64-percent, shooting over 60-percent for the majority of the half before finishing the first 20-minutes with a 59-percent mark from the field.
The Minutemen rallied to pull within five points twice, first on a Pipkins 3-pointer before Miller connected on a jumper of his own to bring the score to 30-25 with 7:49 left on the last field goal made for UMass in the first half. Miller opened up the night 3-of-3 from the field to score six in the first half on a night where the junior finished with nine points, three rebounds and three assists.
La Salle went on to outscore UMass 17-2 to end the first half with a 47-27 lead as the lone UMass points during the run came on a pair of free throws on separate trips to the line for Anderson.
Hines converted on the first attempt for UMass to open up the second half while La Salle's hot shooting continued as the home team opened the half 4-of-4 from the field to go ahead 55-31. The Explorers scored on six of their first seven possessions on their way to shooting 69-percent in the opening seven minutes of the half, building their lead to a game-high 30 points after back-to-back 3-pointers from Isiah Deas.
UMass came back with a 10-0 run after facing their largest deficit as Pipkins connected on consecutive 3-pointers, the last on a step-back triple to cut the lead down below 20 points at 70-52 with 9:18 left. The Minutemen shot 7-of-13 from deep in the final 20 minutes and finished 10-of-23 on the night for 43.5-percent as they ended the night on a 7-0 scoring run.
UMass wraps up their two-game road trip on Saturday against Fordham at 2 p.m. on NBCSN before returning home to the Mullins Center to host Rhode Island on Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m.
For continued coverage of UMass Men's Basketball, follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at UMassBasketball.