UMass Lowell men’s basketball battle from behind, down Boston College

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UMass Lowell gets to .500 with win over BC. (Photo/UMass Lowell Athletics)
UMass Lowell gets to .500 with win over BC. (Photo/UMass Lowell Athletics)
UMass Lowell gets to .500 with win over BC. (Photo/UMass Lowell Athletics) UMass Lowell UMass Lowell men's basketball battle from behind, down Boston College UMLvsBCbb
UMass Lowell gets to .500 with win over BC. (Photo/UMass Lowell Athletics)

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The UMass Lowell River Hawks (4-4) overcame a 10-point deficit late in the second half to earn an exciting, 68-66 victory at Boston College (3-5) on Sunday afternoon. Freshman Isaac White (Ashland, Ohio) notched a game-high 20 points, including a personal-best five three-point field goals on the day.

“What a signature win for us to beat a school like Boston College out of the ACC in such a close game down the stretch,” said UMass Lowell Head Coach Pat Duquette. “It happened kind of quick, they were ahead most of the game and we were just hanging around. We scored at the right time to get the lead. We made some big free throws, executed our out-of-bounds play really well and Isaac White hit some key shots for us.”

The River Hawks outscored the Eagles, 14-5, in the final four minutes of play en route to the program’s first ever win against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent. Freshman Ryan Jones (Rio Rancho, N.M.) added to the offensive effort with 11 points, while redshirt sophomore Jahad Thomas (Williamsport, Pa.) paced the team on the glass with eight rebounds and tied a career high with seven assists.

The River Hawks scored first in the contest off a pull-up jumper by Jones, who would tally nine consecutive points to give the visitors a 9-7 edge with 15 minutes remaining in the first half.

Boston College pulled in front with back-to-back threes, but Thomas and senior Mark Cornelius (Westford, Mass.) followed with buckets from down low to knot the score for the third time at 13-13 with 12 minutes to go in the half. The Eagles responded, though, with a quick, 12-2 spurt to create a 10-point buffer at 9:35.

UMass Lowell erased the gap and regained the upper hand, thanks to four straight long balls from junior Tyler Livingston (Hudson, N.H.), redshirt freshman Josh Gantz (Grove City, Ohio), freshman Keith Hayes II (Little Rock, Ark.) and White during a 14-3 River Hawk run that put the visitors on top, 29-28, with 6:57 left in the first. The Eagles worked to take back a slim, one-possession buffer in the waning minutes of the period before Jerome Robinson drained a three-point jumper with just two seconds on the clock, giving the home squad a 37-31 lead at the break.

Thomas scored a second-chance layup coming out of halftime, but BC answered with six consecutive points, taking a 43-33 margin with 17:05 still to go. UMass Lowell made it a two-possession game, 45-40, on a layup by freshman Logan Primerano (Peru, Ind.) at 13:10. Less than two minutes later, Thomas banked in a bucket, and Primerano and Livingston added free throws to cut the deficit to just three at 49-46 with 10:19 remaining.

The Eagles would maintain at least a seven-point lead until Thomas found White for a pair of fast-break threes, and Primerano came up big from downtown to spark a 14-1 spurt and give the River Hawks the lead for good at 65-61 with less than a minute to go. White then hit three, key free throws in the final seconds to seal the 68-66 victory.

Robinson led the Eagles with 16 points in the contest, while Johncarlos Reyes posted a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Sunday’s contest marked the third meeting ever between UMass Lowell and Boston College in the sport of men’s basketball. BC still owns a slight, 2-1 edge in the all-time series. The River Hawks will return to action on Thursday, December 10 when they welcome in-state foe Boston University to the Tsongas Center for a 7 p.m. eastern tilt.

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