UMass basketball: Big first half gets Minutemen back in win column with victory over George Washington

Keon Thompson (5) and the UMass men’s basketball team picked up a 69-57 win over George Washington on Tuesday night.

Keon Thompson (5) and the UMass men’s basketball team picked up a 69-57 win over George Washington on Tuesday night. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Reports

Published: 02-27-2024 9:34 PM

The UMass men’s basketball team looked like a squad set on avenging its loss to St. Bonaventure over the weekend.

Taking on George Washington at the Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, the Minutemen shot 53.1 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes of action — going 6-for-15 from 3-point land — while holding the Colonials to just 27.6 percent from the field and 1-for-17 from 3 to take a 40-21 lead at the break. 

UMass never let George Washington cut it to single-digits in the second half, leading by as many as 25 points with 14:07 to play as the Minutemen walked out with a 69-57 Atlantic 10 victory. 

"These guys are about the right things,” UMass coach Frank Martin said. “These guys care, they're not about their individual glory, they're about doing what they're asked to do."

After Saturday’s loss to the Bonnies, the Minutemen were able to regroup, had a good practice on Monday and got back to work Tuesday, according to Martin. 

“I was hollow, I wasn't mad,” Martin said after the home loss. “We've got a special group of kids, why would I be mad? I was hollow. I shared that with the players and that's how they felt.

“We came in [Monday], we were on it – had a real good practice and came in here tonight and shot the ball really well,” Martin added. “It was fun to watch and coach these guys, real proud of these guys."

UMass (17-10, 8-7) finished the game shooting 51.7 percent from the floor while holding a 34-28 rebound edge. The Minutemen never trailed in the game. 

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Matt Cross was an efficient 8-for-12 from the field to score a team-high 17 points for the Minutemen. Cross added seven rebounds, Rahsool Diggins scored 13 points, Josh Cohen tossed in 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting while Robert Davis Jr. and Jayden Ndjigue both tallied eight points in the win. 

Darren Buchanan Jr. led GW with 21 points while Jacoi Hutchinson scored 14 points in the loss. 

Next up for UMass is a trip to North Carolina to take on Davidson. That contest is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. 

The Minutemen will be going for their fourth road win of the A-10 season against the Wildcats. 

“Let's stop with the talk... we can't win on the road? That's three road wins (in the league),” Martin said. “It's special for the kids. We've got two games to go, a chance to get to double digit wins in the league. It's a fun group."

UMass women’s lacrosse drops third straight

It hasn’t quite been the start to the season the Minutewomen have hoped for, as they fell 12-10 to Holy Cross at Garber field on Tuesday afternoon – their third loss in as many games to open the year.

UMass fell behind 5-1 after the first frame, surrendering the game’s first four goals before a Caroline Whelan tally stopped some of the bleeding. The Crusaders carried momentum into the second, scoring two of the next three to catapult them ahead 7-2 before the Minutewomen turned things around.

Charlotte Wilmoth scored twice, Skylar Simmonds found the back of the net and Delaney Rodriguez-Shaw added a goal of her own to bring UMass within one, 7-6, early in the third quarter.

After giving up two more, the Minutewomen ripped off four straight goals for a second time to take a 10-9 lead with 10 minutes to go. Whelan added her third and Kassidy Morris put up a hat trick during that stretch.

Over the final 10 minutes, Holy Cross held UMass scoreless and added three consecutive scores to leave Amherst with a 12-10 win.

UMass’ Catrina Tobin made seven saves in net, and the Minutewomen out-shot the Crusaders on goal 27-19 in the loss.

Next up is a road bout in Brooklyn as UMass battles LIU on Saturday at 11 a.m.