Seniors Lead The Charge As UMass Downs Holy Cross, 73-59
Dec. 10, 2008
AMHERST, Mass. - Needing a victory, UMass' senior leaders got just that on Wednesday night at the Mullins Center, as Tony Gaffney and Chris Lowe led the Minutemen to a 73-59 victory over Holy Cross. Gaffney, for the second-straight game, had a near triple-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and eight blocks. Lowe dished out 12 assists to go with nine points as UMass used a suffocating defense in the second half to erase a halftime deficit. Ricky Harris led all scorers with 23 points. UMass improves to 2-6 on the season, while Holy Cross falls to 3-7.
Anthony Gurley tallied 14 points and six rebounds to give UMass three players in double figures. Holy Cross was led by RJ Evans' 17 points and eight boards.
The Minutemen finished shooting 25-for-50 (50%) from the field while Holy Cross was 20-for-56 (36%).
After Holy Cross made a 3-pointer on the first possession of the game, the Minutemen scored the next eight points, including to layups by Lowe, on their way to 13-5 lead at the first time out just over four minutes into the game.
The Crusaders went on 9-0 run over a 2:34 stretch to take their first lead, 16-15, with 12:30 left in the first half.
The teams traded the lead five times in the middle of the half, but another 9-0 Crusaders run over a span of 5:39 gave them a 29-21 lead with 4:44 on the clock.
The Minutemen closed the half with a 6-1 spurt, capped off by Lowe finding Tyrell Lynch for a layup with one second left, to pull within three, 32-29, at halftime.
Holy Cross' Evans led all scorers with 10 points in the first half, while UMass was led by Gurley's seven. UMass outshot the Crusaders, 45.5% to 33.3% in the half, but trailed in rebounding, 21-16.
The Crusaders started the second half with two-straight hoops to take their biggest lead, 36-29, but the Minutemen came roaring back. The home team used a 7-0 run to tie the game, 36-36, and after Holy Cross retook the lead by four, a 12-0 run over a 2:12 span that gave UMass a 53-45 lead with 10:30 left. The run, finished off by a Matt Glass 3-pointer, was fueled by increased defensive intensity as the Minutemen switched to a full-court press and held the Crusaders without a field goal for 6:02.
UMass kept the pedal down for the rest of the game. Another Glass 3-pointer followed by a Lowe-to-Gaffney dunk led to a Holy Cross timeout and gave UMass a 67-51 lead with 5:25 remaining. At 3:32 the same duo brought the crowd to their feet when Lowe lobbed to Gaffney for the jam to make it 72-54 with 3:32 left.
The Minutemen return to action on Saturday when they travel to take on national champion Kansas in Kansas City, Mo. at 2 p.m.
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