by Kevin McCaskill Jr.
1/26/23 * 4:00 PM
(AMHERST, MA) - On Wednesday night, UMass hosted Richmond for an Atlantic 10 matchup in Amherst, MA. Last week, the Minutemen lost two road games at VCU and at St. Joseph’s. They needed this home win to gain traction in the A10 standings. Noah Fernandes and TJ Weeks Jr. did not play on Wednesday. Rahsool Diggins and RJ Luis started in their place.
In the first half, UMass got out to a hot start early. Luis and Matt Cross made back to back 3s. After another layup by Luis, UMass led 8-0. Richmond fought their way back into the game led by Neal Quinn.
Later in the half, the Minutemen gave up multiple 3s from each corner. Richmond gained the lead with 4 minutes left in the first half. Tyler Burton hit a long 2 before the halftime buzzer that put Richmond up 37-32 .
The game was close for almost the entire second half. Neither team could seize the momentum and solely carry it. The referees called a lot of fouls in the 2nd. The game was tied at several points.
Richmond led 76-73 with about two minutes left in the game. Diggins hit a huge 3 that tied the game @ 76. UMass made two more key plays down the stretch to seal the game. Dyondre Dominguez threw an alley to Wildens Leveque and Leveque threw it down with one hand! On UMass’ next offensive possession, Luis hit a jumper from the left elbow that put the Minutemen up 80-76.
UMass went on to win 85-76.
Luis had a career-high 23 points. He also registered 7 rebounds and 5 assists. This was, by far, his best performance of the season.
Matt Cross scored 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. He can get to the basket just about anytime. Once again, he is relentless attacking the basket.
Tyler Burton had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Neal Quinn scored 19 points for the Spiders.
After the game, Luis said of his breakout performance, “I just let the game come to me”.
The Minutemen are now 12-8 overall, 3-5 in the Atlantic 10. They host Duquesne on Saturday, 1/28/23 @ 4 PM. The game can seen on ESPN+ [and probably NESN].