AMHERST, Mass. – Carl Pierre
scored a game-high 21 points while Luwane Pipkins
added 19 as UMass opened up its 2018-19 regular-season campaign with an 83-75 win over UMass Lowell on Tuesday evening at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen (1-0 Overall) got double-digit scoring production from starters Jonathan Laurent
and Curtis Cobb
and a tied for game-high 11 rebounds from Rashaan Holloway
in the win.
Pierre connected on a pair of early 3-pointers on a night where the sophomore shot 9-of-16 from the field, helping the Minutemen to a 15-11 lead before the River Hawks' (0-1 Overall) Josh Gantz knocked down three free throws to give the visitors their only lead of the night at 19-18 with 12:08 left in the first. The guard's 21 points marked the fourth time in his career that he has eclipsed the 20-point mark and eighth straight game in double-figures dating back to Feb. 17.
Laurent pushed the UMass lead to six points moments later with a highlight-reel dunk over a UMass Lowell defender for two of his 10 points as the transfer finished 4-of-6 from the field. The redshirt-junior forward added a tied for game-high five assists to go along with four boards.
came off the bench to pitch in seven points, connecting on a pair from the charity stripe with just under six minutes left to move the Minuteman advantage to 34-25 before the River Hawks scored nine straight to tie in a half that experienced five ties. Clergeot helped extend the lead to the largest of the game with five consecutive points with under six left in the second half, converting on an and-one before slamming home a fast break dunk moments later to bring the score to 73-57.
UMass Lowell answered by converting on five of their next six shots from the field as they trimmed the Minuteman advantage to just four points with 2:29 left on the clock by way of a 16-4 scoring run.
The Minuteman defense stepped up after the River Hawks pulled within four points for the first time since the 15:45 mark in the second, forcing a pair of turnovers on back-to-back possessions that were both followed by a pair of bonus free throws put in by Pipkins and Laurent to eventually extend the lead back to six.
As a team, UMass finished the night 31-of-61 (50.8-percent) from the field to UMass Lowell's 40-percent showing from the floor while out-rebounding the River Hawks 42-36. Cobb added to the rebound advantage by pulling down six while Clergeot and Sy Chatman
both came off the bench to haul in five rebounds each.
The Minutemen will continue their season-opening five-game homestand on Friday when they play host to New Hampshire at 7 p.m. in the Mullins Center.
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