by Kevin McCaskill Jr.
1/15/23 * 7:25 PM
(AMHERST, MA) - On Saturday afternoon, The Mullins Center hosted another Women’s and Men’s 🏀 doubleheader. The Minutewomen hosted St. Joseph’s, one of the better teams in the Atlantic 10. The Minutemen faced a rival, Rhode Island. The Minutemen have lost their last two games to George Washington and La Salle. Also, UMass Guards Noah Fernandes and RJ Luis did not play on Saturday. HC Frank Martin didn’t disclose what the injuries were after the game.
In the first half, both teams struggled offensively. They went back and forth; neither team had control of the game. The game was tied @ 27 at halftime.
The Minutemen came out firing in the second half. They made a 12-1 run quickly to give them the space they needed for the rest of the game.
The Minutemen maintained a 9 to 10 point lead for the first half of the 2nd. In the middle of the 2nd half, Rhode Island began to make a comeback. They started playing better defense and forced UMass into some bad shots and costly turnovers. The Rams pulled the game closer 52-48. After narrowing the lead to four, Matt Cross got to the line twice off of his relentless attacks to the basket. He made all 4 FTs and UMass led 56-49. Down the stretch, Cross made multiple plays to ensure the Minutemen stayed in the lead. Brandon Martin hit a crucial jumper and the assist came from Cross. Cross made a layup and 4 more FTs in the clutch moments of the game. TJ Weeks also made a big three late in the second half to seal the game for the Minutemen.
The Minutemen closed out the doubleheader with a win over the Rams 75-65.
Cross scored a game-high 22 points. Dyondre Dominguez scored 12 points and was the energy leader for the Minutemen. They each grabbed 7 rebounds.
Ishmael Leggett scored a team-high 19 points for Rhode Island.
The Men’s game had an attendance of 5,013 people, by far the most this season. The Saturday afternoon doubleheader turned out well for both programs and for the fans.
UMass improves to 11-6 overall, 2-3 in A10 play. The Minutemen travel south to Richmond, VA to take on Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). The game starts @ 7 PM.
(Tafara Gapare drives to the basket)