UMass Rallies To Stun PC At The Dunk, 79-78

Providence College Press Release

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Providence College men’s basketball team was defeated by the University of Massachusetts for the second consecutive season on Friday, Dec. 7 by a score of 79-78. Providence held a 50-32 lead at the break but Luwane Pipkins capped off the UMass comeback with a layup in the final five seconds to give the Minutemen the win. Providence drops to 7-3 overall and this marks their first loss in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center this season.
Providence started to heat up from the field after the first media timeout, using an 8-0 run on 4-5 shooting from the field to take a 17-11 lead. Jimmy Nichols Jr. (Conway, S.C.) was the point of attack for the Friar offense early, he finished with seven points shooting a perfect 3-3 from the field, including a three towards the end of the half.
Rashaad Holloway and Nate Watson (Arlington, Va.) matched up in the paint, with both big men going at each other for most of the game. The Minutemen could not find an answer for Watson, sending him to the line 14 times in the game in which he converted eight.
Head Coach Ed Cooley made it an emphasis to feed Watson in the post. Watson followed up his first career double-double last game against Boston College with a 14 point and five rebound effort tonight.
Maliek White (Richmond, Va.) came off the bench alongside Isaiah Jackson (Gainesville, Fla.) and created instant offense, as a part of their early run he received a pass in the left corner from Diallo that he knocked down. He then contributed to another 10-0 run by hitting his second trey of the half from the top of the key with 6:50 left in the half. White finished with eight points, four assists and two rebounds.
Jackson joined in on the three-point barrage by hitting a three in the short corner off an inbound pass that UMass failed to defend, putting the Friars up 33-22. Jackson has been Cooley’s go-to option off the bench alongside Watson, he finished with eight points while shooting 2-2 from deep.
Providence outscored the Minutemen in the last 5:57, 17-10 heading into the break for a 50-32 lead.
The Friars shot 9-14 (64.3 percent) from three-point territory in the half compared to UMass’ 2-7 (28.6 percent).
White and Diallo were the catalyst for the Providence offense in the first half, finishing with a combined 21 of their 50 points. Providence’s 50 points in the first half tied their season-high against Siena in their season opener.  
Jackson pushed the Providence lead to 15 after UMass blew his assignment and left him wide open for a corner three, White found him on the wing and delivered the pass before Holloway could get to him.
Carl Pierre cut the lead to single digits at the 9:44 mark for the first time since 4:47 left in the first half. Pierre knocked down back-to-back threes, the second from the right wing in transition that forced Cooley to call a timeout. Samba Diallo contributed a layup out of the timeout to cut the Providence lead to 64-60.
Both teams could not stay out of foul trouble, leaving them both in the bonus with 8:10 left in the game.
Providence led 71-70 before A.J. Reeves curled around a screen and received a pass from Nichols, Reeves got fouled on an elbow jumper and made the bucket. Reeves hit the free throw to take a 74-70 lead. He finished with eight points and two rebounds.
UMass took the lead with 2:31 left to play, Pierre hit his fifth three of the game before the Minutemen stole a pass from Reeves that they finished with a layup in transition, they led 77-76 with 2:25 to play.
Diallo wanted the ball with 1:56 left to play when they were down one, he received the ball at the top of the key before using a spin move to convert a tough layup to take the lead 78-77.
Samba Diallo got fouled in transition but failed to convert from the free-throw line to leave the Friar lead at one. The Minutemen had the ball with 24 seconds left before Pipkins drove down the lane and finished in the paint. Diallo had one last opportunity but failed to hit the layup.
Providence’s bench outscored the UMass bench 30-7 but the Minutemen finished strong in the paint, outscoring the Friars 36-26 in the key. Luwane Pipkins led the second half charge, scoring a game-high 26 points on 10-21 shooting, he added five rebounds and five assists.
Up next the Friars will play Central Connecticut in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Dec. 16 at 2:00 p.m. The game will be televised on FS1.