by Kevin McCaskill Jr.
12/19/22 * 5:20 PM
(METRO CENTER, SPRINGFIELD) - On Saturday afternoon, 12/17/22, The MassMutual Center hosted the 2022 Basketball Hall of Fame Classic, which featured two games:
Liberty vs. Bryant
North Texas vs. Massachusetts
Liberty beat Bryant in the first game 82-62. Liberty got great performances from Darius McGhee (22 points), Kyle Rode (17 points), and Brody Peebles (16 points). McGhee won the MVP award.
Antwan Walker scored 17 points for Bryant.
(FPM/FPS coverage of the BHoFC was sponsored by POKÉMOTO NORTHAMPTON, located @ 18 Main St. Northampton, MA)
In the second game, North Texas beat UMass 62-44. Even though the final score says otherwise, this was a close contest. UMass led at halftime 26-22. North Texas had a 6-point lead, 46-40, with 7 minutes left in the second half.
North Texas Senior Tylor Perry scored a game-high 23 points. He was named MVP. Senior Kai Huntsberry added 14 points.
(Tylor Perry, holding MVP plaque)
UMass took too many contested jump-shots on Saturday afternoon. Matt Cross was the only UMass player that consistently got to the basket. He scored a team-high 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Dyondre Dominguez scored 12 points and grabbed 9 rebounds.
The referees called too many fouls. There was only one contentious moment in the game. Two players got tied up trying to get the ball and they fell to the ground. Other players came in jockeying for position and there were a couple of light shoves between players. There was really no reason for the refs to start to call every ticky-tack, “small change” foul.
There was also an odd occurrence in the second half. UMass Freshman Guard RJ Luis was at the FT line for 2 FTs. He missed the 1st FT. As he was shooting the second FT, the horn went off from the scorer’s table; Luis made the FT. The refs waived the FT off and made Luis attempt the FT again; he missed the 2nd (3rd) FT.
After the game, UMass HC Frank Martin said, “Physical, defensive teams have beaten us”. He also doesn’t know when Guard Noah Fernandes will return. Martin said Fernandes is still going through complications from his injury.
(Frank Martin takes questions from the media after the game)
In Saturday’s contest, North Texas imposed their will on UMass. North Texas slowed the game down and forced UMass to take contested shots. UMass went 0/10 from 3-pt. range. North Texas ended the game out-scoring UMass 16-4. Despite all the negatives, UMass was still in the game with 7 minutes to go. This loss was about UMass not enduring the physicality from another team. Also, UMass is still without their best and most important player, Noah Fernandes. Getting Fernandes back on the floor, healthy, will help UMass greatly.
Thank you to The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; The MassMutual Center; UMass Athletics; Bryant Athletics; Liberty Athletics; North Texas Athletics and ESPN.
(UMass AD Ryan Bamford talks with UMass legend Marcus Camby)
(UMass coaching staff)