Minutemen Start ‘23 with a Victory over Saint Louis 90-81
by Kevin McCaskill Jr.
1/5/23 * 8:20 PM
(AMHERST, MA) - UMass Athletics started the year with a basketball doubleheader at the Mullins Center, in Amherst, MA. The University is on winter break and most students have gone home. Despite the students not being there, UMass fans came out for both games. The Minutewomen lost to Rhode Island in the 1st game. The Minutemen hosted Saint Louis to close out the show.
UMass Guard Noah Fernandes returned to play at the Mullins Center for the first time since November. He made up for lost time scoring a game-high 26 points. He also had 7 assists and only 1 turnover. UMass HC Frank Martin said after the game,
“There’s a big difference with our team when Noah’s on the court and when he is not on the court”
Fernandes is UMass' best player and most important player. When he is on the court, UMass can win any game they are in.
UMass got significant contributions from their bench last night. RJ Luis scored 11 points and hit a big three in the 2nd half [in between 3s by Tafara Gapare and Fernandes]. Dyondre Dominguez scored 9 points. Gapare scored 8 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. The players coming off the bench can produce those type of numbers consistently.
Issac Kante also had a good performance for the Minutemen scoring 11 points. He started again last night. Wildens Leveque is out with a knee injury. Kante played strong and aggressive in the post on offense and defense.
Saint Louis kept the game close in the beginning of the 1st half and they made a comeback in the 2nd half, pulling within one point, 46-45.
Fernandes hit multiple big shots down the stretch, along with his teammates, to beat Saint Louis 90-81.
Former UMass HC and current SLU HC Travis Ford received a technical foul before the end of the game that got some cheers and jeers out of the crowd.
Yuri Collins score 16 points and had 10 assists for Saint Louis. Sincere Parker scored 15 points, 3/6 from 3-pt range.
After the game, Fernandes said, “Defensively, we’re all locked in, we’re on a string”
(RJ Luis & Noah Fernandes answer questions after the game)
UMass next game is this Saturday @ George Washington. The game tips @ 2:00 PM.