The Massachusetts Minutemen choose the worst time to decide to become ice cold from the field. After Donte Clark hit a free throw to cut the Hawks' lead to 50-49, St. Joe's went on a 9-0 run that ended with just under one minute left in the game. Despite some missed free throws down the stretch from the Hawks, UMass was never able to capitalize.
There was really only one guy on the Saint Josephs Hawks roster that could hurt UMass and he did just that. DeAndre Bembry was a monster that had his way with the Minutemen. He led the Hawks in almost every category which fits in nicely with his season averages. He had 25 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, five steals, and three blocks. Those stats were all team highs and all but the rebounds were game highs.
Bembry got some help from St. Joe's second leading scorer Isaiah Miles. Miles, the only other Hawk to average in double figures in scoring, had 18 points and was 7-12 from the field. Miles would have been the leading scorer on UMass.
The game didn't start great for the Minutemen as St. Joe's jumped out to a quick 6-0 run. Derek Kellogg quickly made use of his bench as Zach Coleman, Demetrius Dyson, and Jabarie Hinds all made appearances in the first five minutes of action.
That seemed to boost the Minutemen as they narrowed the gap and were able to take a 22-21 lead after Clark made a layup. Zach Coleman did almost all of his work in the first half scoring seven points and grabbing four boards. He wouldn't score in the second half.
Both teams traded baskets to close out the half deadlocked at 27 after Dyson missed a last second three.
Maxie Esho failed to repeat his offensive scoring show from last game as managed a measly two points on 1-6 shooting and missing both free throw attempts. It's never a good thing when you have more personal fouls (4) than points.
The second half looked promising in the beginning for UMass as Derrick Gordon opened up the UMass scoring by converting an and-one off a jumper.
The second half was much kinder to Gordon as he failed to score even one point in the first. After picking up his second foul just four minutes into the game, Gordon found a nice seat on the pine. He tried to make up for lost time scoring nine points in the second. Not the kind of performance UMass needed as he failed to record an assist or steal.
Gordon would also give UMass their largest lead of the second half after hitting two free throws to make it 38-35 with 13:55 to play. Bembry and Miles had plans of their own however as they quickly snatched the advantage from UMass and took it for themselves at the 10:42 mark and it would never be relinquished.
Cady Lalanne had a decent game on paper with nine points and nine assists but should have done more against this lineup. Bembry is a good four inches shorter than Lalanne but managed five more blocks than him. Actually UMass did not record a block. Lalanne should be a more important part of this offense as he was just 3-6 from the floor and only went 3-4 from the line. Lalanne needs to be more aggressive and at least get to the line if he can't finish in the post.
The bench really let down UMass in the second as they scored ZERO points. That's right, all 12 bench points came in the first half, mostly thanks to Coleman. Jabarie Hinds finished the game with three points and three steals. The only thing he contributed in the second half though was one steal and three missed shots. Dyson, after having a string of nice games, finally fell off a little shooting 1-6 from the field for two points. He also added two steals and three boards.
The lack of an inside defensive presence really hurt UMass. While Lalanne and Esho usually harass and swat opponents to no end today was different. Not only did UMass end with zero blocks but the starters also had zero steals. The bench had all five steals and four of them came in the first half.
St. Joe's assisted 17 of their 23 baskets compared UMass' 10 assists on 22 buckets. Ironically it was Trey Davis, the point guard, who had the best game for the Minutemen. He led the team in scoring with 14 points and three assists. He shot well from the field and from behind the arc going 6-11 and 2-4 respectively. Backcourt mate Donte Clark also had a decent game with ten points on 4-7 shooting. He did struggled from the charity stripe with a 2-5 showing and turned the ball over three times.
UMass had a shot to jump into the upper echelon of the A-10 with a win. Instead they drop into the middle with a 3-3 conference record. They're in real trouble of falling below .500 seeing as their next game is against the Dayton Flyers on the 29th.