AMHERST, Mass. –
The University of Massachusetts men's basketball team rallied back from down 14 points to pull within two late, but came up just short of defeating No. 22-ranked Rhode Island as the Rams defeated the Minutemen 85-83 on Tuesday evening at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen (10-13 Overall, 3-7 Atlantic 10) out-scored the Rams (18-3 Overall, 10-0 Atlantic 10) 10-3 down the stretch behind six points from C.J. Anderson
during the span.
The Minutemen came out hot from the field to open up the contest as UMass scored on their first six possessions, beginning with a Carl Pierre
triple on the first shot of the game before a pair of Luwane Pipkins
free throws brought the score to 13-6. Pierre followed with another 3-pointer as UMass extended their lead to a game-high 13 points after a Khalea Turner-Morris
layup with 12:48 remaining in the half.
UMass shot 8-of-9 from the field before a cold stretch saw the Minutemen connect on just one of their next nine attempts as the Rams used a 17-2 scoring run to take their first lead of the night at 29-27 with 7:55 left in the first half. Rhode Island eventually scored 11 straight points to push their lead to six points before back-to-back layups from Pipkins brought UMass back within two as the Rams took a 44-41 lead into halftime.
Rhode Island came out and shot 9-of-11 from the field to begin the second half, extending their lead to as many as 14 points. The Rams built a 74-60 lead with just under seven minutes remaining on 13-of-16 shooting for almost 80-percent before going the rest of the way without attempting a field goal as UMass mounted their comeback.
scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half on his way to setting a new career-high in scoring as the junior helped UMass pull within seven points with 1:35 left in the contest. Hines reached double-digit scoring for the third consecutive contest on 6-of-10 shooting to go along with six boards and three assists.
Anderson knocked down a pair of free throws in separate trips to the line to go along with a layup as the Minutemen pulled within four points for the first time since the 19:25 mark in the second half late. Anderson finished with 15 points to go along with three rebounds and four assists.
Pipkins cut the lead down to two points with 10-seconds left on the clock with his third 3-pointer of the night before Jarvis Garrett converted on 1-of-2 from the line to give UMass a chance to tie with the score 85-82. Pipkins was fouled on the final UMass possession and converted on his first attempt from the line prior to intentionally missing the second free throw and grabbing an apparent rebound before a lane violation was called.
Pipkins finished with a game-high 27 points while converting on 8-of-9 attempts from the line for a UMass squad that shot 24-of-25 from the stripe on the night.
The Minutemen remain at home in the Mullins Center as they welcome in Dayton for a league matchup on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.
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