by Kevin McCaskill Jr.
12/21/22 * 6:00 PM
(AMHERST) - Last night, UMass hosted a contest against an Ivy League opponent, Dartmouth, at the Mullins Center.
UMass lost over the weekend to North Texas at the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. Dartmouth came into Tuesday’s game without four of their starting players. UMass Guard Noah Fernandes remains out with a foot injury.
(TJ Weeks Jr. scans the floor against North Texas @ The Basketball Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield, MA 12/17/22)
The Dartmouth players that made the trip made the best of a bad situation. They came out and played harder and smarter than UMass. Dartmouth Guard Jaren Johnson led the way scoring a team-high 13 points. Johnson was fouled on a 3-pt attempt and made all three FTs which gave Dartmouth their first lead 21-18.
In the first half, Dartmouth’s zone gave the UMass offense trouble. The ball wasn’t moving and they weren’t getting into the middle of the zone. On the other end, Dartmouth made tough shots but also got some baskets in transition off UMass turnovers.
At halftime, Dartmouth led 35-28.
Dartmouth maintained their lead for the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half. UMass fouled a 3-pt shooter for the third time in the game. It seemed like an unexplainable upset was about to happen.
The Minutemen got the spark they needed from Junior Guard TJ Weeks Jr. He made back to back 3s that tied the game at 46.
UMass Junior Forward Dyondre Dominguez made a “half hook” in the middle of the Dartmouth zone that gave UMass the lead 48-46. After the game, HC Frank Martin made reference to that shot:
“He made a big time flash inside the zone for a little pull-up shot, that we have been begging for all game. Well, he finally went out and did it. Not just him, everybody. He [Dominguez] went in and did it. Made a big time…little half hook in that same area right when we were making our run…I’m proud of ‘Dre”
(UMass HC Frank Martin)
Dominguez hit a 3 from the right side of the court to extend the Minutemen’s lead 63-52, with three minutes left in the game.
Despite another lethargic 1st half, that could have been due to an “[illness]” that has effected the Minutemen lately, UMass beat Dartmouth 68-57.
Weeks Jr. scored a game-high 19 points. Matt Cross scored 16 points. Cross is relentless taking the ball to the basket; he also grabbed 9 rebounds. Dominguez scored 14 points.
After the game, Weeks Jr. said, “I like where we are but we can’t get complacent”.
(Dyondre Dominguez & TJ Weeks Jr. after the game)
UMass' next game is on New Year’s Eve in Olean, NY. They take on St. Bonaventure in the Minutemen’s 1st game of Atlantic 10 conference play.
(Layup by Tafara Gapare)
(Matt Cross hits a 3 before halftime)