by Kevin McCaskill Jr.
2/15/23 * 1:45 AM
(AMHERST, MA) - The Minutemen hosted the Ramblers from Loyola Chicago yesterday at the Mullins Center, on the campus of UMass, in Amherst, MA. UMass came into the game on a four game losing streak. Noah Fernandes missed another game. Brandon Martin injured his elbow and missed yesterday’s game; Dyondre Dominguez started in his place.
By record, the Ramblers are the worst team in the Atlantic 10. Loyola Chicago wanted to make a statement in their 1st trip to Amherst.
By the end of the night, the Ramblers statement was loud and clear.
The game was close for the first 5 minutes. Loyola Chicago had slight control of the game early. At the 15 minute mark, the Minutemen sustained another injury to a key player. Matt Cross went to the basket for a layup or dunk but he never got up into the air. He collapsed on the ground and rolled over in front of the cheerleaders and photographers. He had to be helped off the floor. In the tunnel area, he was given crutches to help him walk.
In the second half, I was made aware of the potential injury to Cross. He potentially had an “MCL injury”. HC Frank Martin confirmed the MCL injury in the post-game press conference.
After the Cross injury, in the first half, the Minutemen went scoreless for 4 minutes. Loyola Chicago captured the momentum of the game from that point until late in the second half.
UMass was down 61-46 with 10 minutes left in the game. They only allowed 3 points the rest of the game. That defensive effort still wasn’t enough for the Minutemen.
Loyola Chicago beat UMass on the road 64-62.
The Minutemen have now lost 5 consecutive games. They are 13-13 overall and 4-10 in Atlantic 10 conference play.
UMass is now down their top 2 scorers and their top rebounder.
TJ Weeks Jr. scored a game-high 18 points. He had an opportunity to tie the game at the end but Loyola Chicago defended him well.
Braden Norris led Loyola Chicago with 17 points. Philip Alston scored 13 points.
The Minutemen have 4 remaining games. They travel east to Rhode Island to play the Rams on Saturday. The Minutemen beat the Rams earlier this season.