Red-hot Hawks Claw Way Back
LOWELL -- Despite trailing by as many as 16 points in the second half, the UMass Lowell men’s basketball team mounted an impressive comeback in the final 10 minutes to earn an 83-75 victory against Loyola (Md.) on Sunday afternoon.
UMass Lowell 83, Loyola 75
The River Hawks remain unbeaten at home this season (5-0) for their best home-court start since 2009, while improving to 5-1 overall.
Down 66-56 with 10 still to go, junior Ryan Jones hit a three that sparked 20 unanswered points over the next seven minutes for UMass Lowell, including a trio of long balls from senior Matt Harris, to put the squad in front, 76-66.
“We’re glad to get another win here at home,” said UML coach Pat Duquette. “I thought the crowd was great. There seems to be some excitement growing on campus, which is great for our guys.
″ It was a disappointing first half, no question about it. We’ve been playing better defense than that and that’s all we talked about in the locker room at halftime. We made a couple defensive adjustments, in terms of switching screens, and continued to stress the importance of moving the ball on offense.”
Harris finished with a game-high 19 points and five triples, while redshirt-senior Jahad Thomas earned his third double-double of the year with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Jones and sophomore Rinardo Perry rounded out the double-digit scorers with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Loyola led by as many as eight in the waning minutes of the first half before Perry drained a long three at the buzzer to make the score 45-40 heading into the break. The Greyhounds then stretched their lead to 13 coming out of halftime, and although Harris responded with another long ball for UMass Lowell, the visitors took their largest lead of the day, 61-45, at 15:47 in the second.
The River Hawks turned the momentum in their favor with consecutive buckets from redshirt-sophomore Connor Bennett (Wilmington) and Thomas, as well as a pair of free throws from junior Shawn Jones that closed the gap to 61-51 with 12:49 left.
The River Hawks will wrap up their current six-game homestand on Wednesday when they host Sacred Heart at Costello Athletic Center beginning at 7 p.m.