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Fordham Rams vs. UMass Minutemen final: UMass outscores Fordham by 12 in the second half in a 82-74 comeback win

Maxie Esho had a pretty good birthday with 17 points and eight rebounds.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Massachusetts Minutemen got a win in what was one of the ugliest games you probably have watched all season that saw a team score over 80.

The first half was a slugfest with only Derrick Gordon showing up to play for UMass. He led the team in first half scoring with 11 points. The rest of the starters managed just five points between them.

Despite the poor shooting on offense both teams went back and forth as they traded small single digit leads. Christian Sengfelder hit a jumper to tie the game at 27 with 4:06 left in the first half that jump started the Rams. They would outscore UMass by four following the last TV timeout to give the Rams a surprising 37-33 lead.

The bench play was impressive as Zach Coleman and Jabarie Hinds were a key reason that UMass wasn't blown off their own court. Coleman had seven first half points and Hinds sparkled with six points and five assists, including a buzzer beater jumper to end the half. Hinds would finish with eight points and seven assists while that would be all the scoring Coleman did for the game.

The Rams started out the second half just like they finished the first as they held a 41-36 lead after three minutes of play.

That's when Donte Clark changed the momentum. Clark stole the ball from Mandell Thomas which resulted in two Trey Davis free throws. Thomas played beautifully for the Rams though. He led them in scoring with 29 points and almost single-handedly kept them in the game.

Even better for UMass though was this was the first of six steals in two and a half minutes. That stretch led to UMass taking a 49-41 lead after the birthday boy Maxie Esho threw down a dunk that ignited the crowd.

Esho may have finally gotten out of his funk. Kellogg pulled him early in the first half but he stormed back in the second, scoring 14 points. Overall he scored 17 for the game and grabbed eight rebounds.

The Minutemen would never relinquish the lead as they consistently threw back repeated attacks from Fordham. The Rams were never able to get within three.

Eric Paschall had a tough game as he couldn't get much going all game finishing with nine points.

Donte Clark seemed to have found his stroke in the second half as he had 13 second half points including both of his threes. He ended third in scoring for UMass with 15 points and chipped in three steals.

In crunch time it was Gordon and Clark who rose to the occasion. They were the only Minutemen to score after the last TV timeout of the game and they combined to go 7-8 from the line to seal it.

UMass destroyed Fordham on the glass to the tune of 42-28. The Rams couldn't seem to get a defensive board as UMass grabbed 19 offensive ones, led by Esho with five.

The Minutemen also survived a three point barrage from the Rams as New Yorkers went 9-18 from downtown. UMass improved from Wednesday with a 6-19 performance. Both teams shot well from the charity stripe as Fordham hit 86.7 percent of their chances and UMass followed closely with 82.4.

Derrick Gordon showed why many think he is the most talented player on the UMass roster. His 20 points (season high), seven rebounds and stout defensive showing make a pretty good argument. UMass needed Gordon to step up and he certainly answered the call.

Cady Lalanne didn't light up the score board with his six points but he did everything else you want from your star center. His five blocks and 12 rebounds established his dominance on both paints. His five turnovers were frustrating but it was good to see him swatting shots in droves again.

This was the tenth A-10 win for the Minutemen as they are now 10-6 in the conference and 17-12 overall. Fordham drops to 9-18 (4-12). UMass plays a very important game against Richmond on Wednesday at 7:30. That is the last regular season home game for the Minutemen this season.

Game Leaders

Player UMass Fordham
Points D. Gordon (20) M. Thomas (29)
Rebounds C. Lalanne (12) R. Rhoomas & E. Paschall (8)
Assists T. Davis & J. Hinds (7) B. Smith (4)
Blocks C. Lalanne (5) B. Smith (2)
Steals D. Clark (3) M. Thomas (4)