The UMass Lowell men’s basketball team (13-11, 5-4) picked up their program record 13th win of the season defeating the UNH Wildcats (19-5, 7-2) with a 72-62 score line. Redshirt guard Christian Lutete led the River Hawks with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Off the bench, senior guard Shawn Jones added 17 points while freshman forward Joey Glynn had 13 points and six rebounds.
“From the ten-minute mark in the first half and nearly until the end of the game we were really good defensively, locked in. Had a lot of good stops,” said head coach Pat Duquette. “I think we stuttered a little bit offensively at the end when we built up a pretty good considerable lead, but our defense was good enough that we were able to overcome that and I haven’t had too many teams that have been to do that. We’ve usually had to score a lot of points. A lot of pride in this win because we were able to do it, almost entirely through our defense.”
In the first ten minutes of this America East conference matchup, the visiting Wildcats could do whatever they pleased offensively. They even grabbed a quick six-point lead against the River Hawks. Ultimately the River Hawks picked up their first lead at the halfway mark of the first half way and never looked back. They would shoot 59 percent from the field in the opening half.
Shawn Jones was putting on a show at Costello as he dropped 14 points in the first half shooting six for seven from the field.
“I knew Obi [Noel] and Ryan [Jones] were out. I knew we were going to need more points,” said Jones. “I wasn’t really expecting it. I came into the game with a defensive mindset, like every game for us, and the rest just came to me.”
After a good defensive half, the River Hawks took a 44-32 lead in their first game playing without senior co-captain guard Ryan Jones and sophomore Obadiah Noel. Freshman guard Bryce Daley excelled in a starting role contributing 10 rebounds.
The hosts would lock down the Wildcats offensively in 2nd half and force them to shoot 36 percent for the game. With Lutete and Daley both getting 10 rebounds, the River Hawks easily won the boards, 42-34. Freshman forward Joey Glynn would score 11 of his 13 points in the second half leading the River Hawks.
“Well after getting into conference play and not playing for a little bit, definitely put something on your shoulder. Coming off the bench was really good today,” said Glynn. “I think we had a really great team win. I think we fought really hard on defense. Shawn was magnificent driving to the basket and getting guys open. I’m just really happy with our performance today.”
With the River Hawks dominating on both sides of the floor and in the paint 34-22 for the game; they would seal the victory early into the second half. The hosts kept leading scorer Lutete and dependable senior forward Josh Gantz on the floor late on. Both players are coming off 40 minute performances this past Saturday against Vermont.
“I don’t love that, but that’s the situation we’re forced into a little bit right now,” said Duquette. “I think those guys are in great shape, both mentally and physically. So as long as they are able to stay out of foul trouble, I don’t mind doing that. But naturally I’d like to get those guys some rest.”
The River Hawks will return to action this Saturday night as they begin their three game road trip against Stony Brook.