AMHERST – Noah Fernandes scored 15 factors, however his last-second shot fell nicely brief, because the UMass males’s basketball crew dropped a 78-77 determination in opposition to La Salle on Wednesday on the Mullins Middle.
“I wasn’t certain what they had been going to do defensively, if they’ll double, hedge me, swap it. I wasn’t actually certain, so mentally I used to be somewhat tousled there,” Fernandes stated. “I simply tried to get an excellent take a look at the tip and could not.”
Fernandes dribbled the ball your entire last 19 seconds. He labored by a ball display screen from Wildens Leveque, enjoying his first sport since Dec. 20, with plans for passes to both Leveque, a posting up Matt Cross off a again minimize or RJ Luis curling for a jumper. Sufficient of a lane opened to Fernandes’ eye, and he attacked off the dribble. La Salle’s Khalil Brantley picked him up on the 3-point line and compelled him baseline. Fernandes could not shake him and could not get his fadeaway jumper to the rim.
“Give the man credit score. Their man did not flinch. He stayed down, guarded him and made it actually arduous,” UMass coach Frank Martin stated. “(Fernandes) received himself too deep on the ground. And in the event you get your self too deep on the ground, you possibly can’t see passes.”
La Salle beat UMass for the primary time since January of 2019, snapping a six-game shedding streak.
Explorers (8-8, 2-1 Atlantic 10) guard Jhamir Brickus poured in 22 factors to steer the second half surge. After scoring simply three factors earlier than halftime, he sank his first 5 pictures and staked the Explorers a lead. His 3 of him with 16:45 left tied the sport at 48. Then Brickus dropped in a step again to tie the sport once more at 50 a minute later after Fernandes restored the UMass benefit.
He hit one other 3 to present La Salle its first lead of the second half 53-50 and made it 56-53 with a large open 3 at 14:04 after a rebound squirted out of RJ Luis’ hand.
Brickus scored 17 factors throughout 10 minutes within the second half as La Salle constructed a 70-63 lead with 7:57 left. He poured in 19 in whole after halftime.
“We simply needed to guard him. It is powerful for me as a result of I am guarding Brantley who’s their main scorer. I do not actually wish to go away him and get him going,” Fernandes stated. “I feel we do a whole lot of blaming on one individual, you type of take a look at matchups and this man versus that man, however on the finish of the day, there’s 5 guys on the market enjoying protection, so I feel you possibly can at all times assist one another out.”
Throughout the identical stretch, the Minutemen turned the ball over 5 occasions.
The Explorers’ benefit stretched to as many as 10 after Khalil Brantley swished a 3 in Fernandes’ face with 5:22 left to make it 77-67.
“Ever since we received again from Christmas our crew protection is non existent. We’re not defending and when you do not defend, you bought no likelihood to win,” Martin stated.
UMass (10-6, 1-3) surged again, and Tafara Gapare minimize it to 77-73 with a ranging euro step layup after bringing the ball up the ground following a rebound with 3:57 left. He almost misplaced it twice however saved his dribble and completed.
Luis hit two free throws with 2:58 on the clock to chop it again to a one-possession sport, 77-75.
UMass trailed 78-75 with 2:19 left after a La Salle timeout. Luis dribbled the ball off a foot within the backcourt, however La Salle turned it proper again over. Then Fernandes traveled at hand it to the Explorers as soon as extra with 1:46 remaining.
The Minutemen held agency on protection, forcing a Brickus miss, however Daeshon Shepherd grabbed the offensive rebound. La Salle stepped on the tip line and gave UMass the ball again with a minute left.
Ultimately Luis discovered Leveque on a roll to the rim, and he made it 78-77 with a thunderous two-handed dunk with 46 seconds left. UMass then pressured a shot clock violation when Brickus’ fall away 3 thudded off the backboard.
La Salle did not rating for the sport’s last 2:22, and the Explorers turned the ball over 4 occasions within the last 5:06.
“It damage, letting them again into the sport. They have guys that may go. They may not be picked to win the league however they have guys that may actually play as you simply watched, and whenever you let these guys get going and also you allow them to get that confidence, they’re powerful to play in opposition to,” Fernandes stated. “We type of had them on the ropes first half and somewhat bit within the second half. However I feel once we gave them that confidence they type of had it of their thoughts that they’ll win the sport, and I do not suppose that was there for a lot of the sport.”
UMass led by as many as 9 within the first half. The Minutemen separated with a 6-0 run after Josh Nickleberry sank a layup to carry the Explorers inside one at 10-9 on the 15:20 mark.
Then Dyondre Dominguez and Matt Cross buried again to again 3s for UMass.
The Minutemen did not stretch any prolonged runs out earlier than halftime however constructed progressively. They out rebounded La Salle 22-16 within the opening body and grabbed 10 offensive boards.
The Explorers hit simply 3-of-13 3s initially, whereas UMass drained 6-of-13 and 5 of its first 9.
Dominguez was assessed a flopping technical foul with 36 seconds remaining after he hit the ground following a 3. Brickus sank a free throw that pulled La Salle inside three at 41-38. It was initially introduced as a technical then communicated it was not a technical, stitching confusion within the Mullins Middle as to why the free throw was shot and remained on the scoreboard. The NCAA modified the foundations earlier than this season to take away the flop warning and permit referees to instantly assess a technical.
Fernandes responded with a 3 10 seconds later that gave UMass a two-score lead on the break.
Cross scored 13 factors with 9 rebounds, whereas Luis added 14 factors. Dominguez scored 12, and Leveque added 10.
UMass will host Rhode Island at 4:30 pm Saturday (NESN-Plus) as a part of a doubleheader with the ladies’s basketball sport in opposition to Saint Joseph’s (2 pm NESN-Plus).
Kyle Grabowski may be reached at email@example.com. Observe him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.