Holy Cross picks apart UMass for 82-78 win

  • Tre Wood, of UMass, passes during a game against Holy Cross, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at the Mullins Center. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jonathan Laurent, top, of UMass, gets tangled up with Connor Niego, of Holy Cross, during a rebound Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at the Mullins Center. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Curtis Cobb, of UMass, eyes the basket during a game against Holy Cross, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at the Mullins Center. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Luwane Pipkins, right, of UMass, moves the ball against Kyle Copeland, of Holy Cross, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at the Mullins Center. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Samba Diallo, right, of UMass, shoots against Holy Cross defenders Matt Faw, left, and Jacob Grandison, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at the Mullins Center. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Curtis Cobb, right, of UMass, moves the ball against Kyle Copeland, of Holy Cross, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at the Mullins Center. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rashaan Holloway, left, of UMass, shoots against Connor Niego, of Holy Cross, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at the Mullins Center. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 12/4/2018 10:51:59 PM

AMHERST — Holy Cross’ game-winning rally occurred in the second half. Its most important came in the opening 20 minutes.

For most of the first half, UMass was able to string together some stops and translate that into points. Slowly the lead began to grow and the Minutemen led by 10 points with 4:22 left in the opening stanza. But the Crusaders stayed patient and scored 17 points before halftime to shrink the lead to a single basket at the intermission.

Even though UMass scored the first seven points of the second half, those 17 points gave the Crusaders some confidence. Holy Cross ended up shooting 70 percent from the field after that initial spurt and rallied for an 82-78 win, Tuesday at the Mullins Center.

“The difference in the game was the last (four) minutes of the first half,” UMass coach Matt McCall said. “They were in the 20s with maybe four minutes to go and we gave up 14 points in the last four minutes of the first half, and that was the complete difference in the game. All of a sudden you go from up 10 with 4:22 and they had 14 points in the last four minutes, and that’s way too much.”

UMass declined to make players available for comments postgame.

The Crusaders’ offense ran through center Jehyve Floyd in the second half as he battled with Rashaan Holloway in the post. Although Holy Cross (6-3) had no answer for Holloway, who finished with 16 points, UMass (5-4) didn’t have a response for Floyd, either. The senior was 6-for-6 from the field in the second half as he dissected Holloway and freshman Sy Chatman with the same post moves to his left side.

“How many times are we going to let Floyd just catch it in the post and get to his left hand,” McCall said. “At some point in time as a player, you have to understand he’s going left every single time, maybe I should sit on his left hand a little bit and make him even dribble the ball with his right hand. He was able to wheel and deal too much.”

Floyd struggled in the first half when the Minutemen gave him space to operate around the perimeter. He ended up taking two shots in just 10 minutes and he said he wasn’t sure how to attack the loose coverage he was receiving.

But the Crusaders made it a point to get Floyd touches in the lane against Holloway, and it helped trigger the game-winning run. He sank back-to-back baskets to kickstart the 9-0 run that broke a 62-62 tie and then added his final points with four minutes left to answer UMass’ surge.

“We just decided to throw the ball down to Floyd and he was productive down there in the last eight-to-10 minutes,” Holy Cross coach Bill Carmody said. “(Holloway was) playing behind our guy, so it was similar to what they were doing to us. We just threw it down and said don’t try to shoot over him, you might have to go around him, bounce it a couple of times in the lane and go up with his left hand instead of trying to take a quick jump hook.”

Floyd’s second-half aggression was matched by his teammates and put UMass in a bind defensively. The Minutemen didn’t commit their first foul of the game until there was 8:55 left in the first half, but Holy Cross was already in the bonus for the second half with 11:42 left.

The fouls chopped up the flow of the game and allowed Holy Cross to set up its 1-2-2 defense. The press and zone didn’t seem to faze the Minutemen, who still shot a respectable 41.4 percent, but it prevented UMass from pushing the tempo. The loss of tempo hurt UMass in last week’s win over Quinnipiac as well when the Bobcats cut into a 21-point second-half deficit by working their way to the free-throw line.

“It’s the second game in a row where a team has gotten back into the game strictly because of the free-throw line,” McCall said. “That changes momentum in a game. You take a nine-point lead and you foul a guy, the clock stops, they can huddle, they can get their defense set. When this team is really, really good is when we can get the game going up and down the floor. We got three stops in a row to start the second half and then a foul, a 3 and all of a sudden it’s a four-point game then all of sudden it’s tied then all of a sudden you’re down four.

“That’s where we have to really look at who’s on the floor, who’s fouling, why are we fouling, what are we doing,” McCall added. “We have to look at that and really get those things corrected.”

Josh Walfish can be reached at jwalfish@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JoshWalfishDHG. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.



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