Second Half Surge Falls Short Against La Salle, 97-88
March 1, 2009
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - An inspired second half comeback wasn't enough as the UMass men's basketball team dropped a 97-88 decision to La Salle on Sunday afternoon at Tom Gola Arena. Trailing by as many as 26, the Minutemen went on to outscore the Explorers, 42-25 in the game's final 11:21, pulling to as close as seven on one occasion. Anthony Gurley and Ricky Harris led the way with 20 points while Chris Lowe netted 15. The Minutemen fall to 10-17, 5-9 in the Atlantic 10, while the Explorers improve to 16-12, 7-7 in conference play.
For Gurley, his 20 points marked a UMass career-high. Harris' points all came in the game's final 11:12 to lead the comeback attempt. David Gibbs also added 10 points, his second-career game in double figures.
La Salle's Rodney Green and Daryl Partin each finished with 30 points.
The Explorers shot 53 percent from the field (31-of-59), including 50 percent (10-for-20) from behind the arc. UMass shot 43 percent (31-of-72) and 39 percent (9-for-23) from 3-point range. La Salle won the battle of the boards, 47-37.
The Minutemen scored four of the first six points of the second half to pull within 15, 48-33, but La Salle continued to have an answer. A Green jumper gave the Explorers a 59-39 lead with 14:59 to go in the second half.
UMass showed life with eight straight points to make it 72-54. The Minutemen extended the run to 17-4 after a Harris 3-pointer cut the once 26-point lead in half, 76-63.
A Gibbs 3-pointer and Lowe layup cut La Salle's lead to nine, 84-75, with 2:20 remaining, the closest UMass had been since 19-10.
In the final minutes, the Minutemen pulled within eight on numerous occasions, but it wasn't enough.
The Explorers used an 11-0 first half run spanning 3:46 to open up a quick 14-3 lead just over five minutes into the game. UMass responded with seven of the next 10 points, highlighted by five from Gurley to pull within six at 16-10.
La Salle answered with a 14-4 run to make it 30-14 with 7:41 remaining in the first half. UMass eventually pulled back to within 39-29 after Matt Glass' second 3-pointer of the half, but the Explorers scored the next seven points to take their largest lead of the half (17) heading into the locker room.
UMass returns to action on Wednesday at 7 p.m. vs. George Washington in the final regular season home game at the Mullins Center. It will be Senior Day as Luke Bonner, Gaffney, and Lowe will be honored prior to tipoff.
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