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UMass Minutemen vs. Saint Louis Billikens Final: UMass hangs on as the Billikens made a late push

Cady Lalanne records his 10th double-double of the season as UMass improves to 5-3 in the conference.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Massachusetts Minutemen snapped their five game losing streak in Saint Louis as they hung on to beat the Saint Louis Billikens. It wasn't an easy one though as Austin Gillmann had an open look from three that for the win. Fortunately for the Minutemen it bounced harmlessly off the front rim and into the hands of Derrick Gordon.

UMass went to Cady Lalanne early and often in the first half, finding him deep in the post for layups. This strategy worked at first but when they went away from Lalanne the Billikens pulled away. Cady would finished with a team high 14 points and 10 boards and three big blocks..

Mike Crawford scored five quick points to give the Saint Louis their biggest lead of the day at 23-18 with just under six minutes to go in the first half.

Then Maxie Esho got involved. Esho drove the basket and went along the baseline. Before stepping out of bounds he found Cady Lalanne for a textbook wrap around pass that resulted in an and-one. That was a play I don't think Trey Davis could facilitate. Esho then hit back to back jumpers to push the UMass lead to 30-25 with one minute to play. Maxie just missed double figures with nine points and added seven boards and three assists.

Lalanne blocked a Milik Yarbrough layup to save the 30-27 Minutemen halftime advantage.

In the first half it was the big men for UMass that carried the load. In the second, the guards picked up the slack. Donte Clark opened up the scoring for UMass in the second (just like the first) off of a sweet jumper. But the Billikens wouldn't go away.

Thanks to a 7-12 effort from behind the arc, Saint Louis was able to stay in the game. Three guys for the Billikens hit two threes, all coming off the bench.

Gillmann hit his second three of the day to give Saint Louis their last lead of the game, 37-34.

After that it was all Minutemen as Lalanne converted another and-one to tie the game and hit two more free throws to take the lead.

Jabarie Hinds picked a good opportunity to catch fire. The sixth man is the ultimate streaky player and when he turns it on he is unstoppable. After hitting a three, Hinds drove to the paint and kissed a layup off the top of the glass that came down through the hoop without moving the net. Hinds was the second leading scorer today with 10 points on 4-5 shooting from the floor and 2-3 from deep.

UMass would extend their lead to as high as 9 with 9:22 to play. Austin McBroom would one of his two threes to ignite an 11-5 run to cut the UMass lead to 53-50.

Officiating was suspect on both sides of the court and down the stretch missed calls on both sides. One on UMass when Yarbrough missed a layup but was fouled and one on the Billikens when Cady Lalanne was hacked on a missed dunk.

Mike Crawford did his best to give the Billikens the win as he made a jumper and then hit two free throws to keep it a two point game with 57 seconds left.

After a missed jumper from Clark, Saint Louis had a last shot chance with no shot clock. After a timeout and a nicely executed play, Gillmann missed his chance to be a hero and Gordon made the buzzer beating layup to win by four.

The three starting guards for UMass didn't shoot the ball statistically well but made them in crunch time. Trey Davis was just 2-8 from the field but hit a tough off balanced jumper to keep the UMass lead at four late in the second half. Davis finished with six points, four assists, and one heck of a charge that ignited UMass in the first half.

Clark tied for third in points with nine and was very active on the floor. He, like Davis, didn't shoot well going just 3-10. Derrick Gordon was quite only scoring six points ( the last two were garbage off a long rebound with one second left) but did have four rebounds and three assists. While he didn't have a steal his usual defense was still there.

UMass really struggled from deep, shooting 25 percent. Not being able to shoot the long ball is the only reason why this game was close. They were better from the free throw line at 14-18 and outrebounded the Billikens 36-31.

Tyler Bergantino played his best game in conference play with four points and two boards. That is back-to-back games with multiple baskets for the big man. UMass will need him and Hinds to give them this kind of production on a game-to-game basis.

This was a big road win for UMass as they are now 12-9 (5-3) and play at Fordham on Wednesday, who is winless in the A-10. Saint Louis drops to 9-11 (1-6).

Game Leaders

Player UMass Saint Louis
Points C. Lalanne (14) M. Crawford (15)
Rebounds C. Lalanne (10) M. Yarbrough (7)
Assists T. Davis (4) A. McBroom (5)
Blocks C. Lalanne (3) Two tied (1)
Steals J. Hinds (2) Three tied (1)