PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Redshirt sophomore Jahad Thomas (Williamsport, Pa.) recorded a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds, as the UMass Lowell River Hawks (4-8) fell, 89-66, at Big Ten opponent Rutgers (6-7) on Monday evening.
“Congratulations to Rutgers, it was a good win for them,” said Head Coach Pat Duquette. “I thought they did some things really well. Obviously, I wasn’t happy with the end result, but we came out pretty good in the first half. Isaac (White) hit some shots and that kind of gave us some energy, but then we were stagnant. We had some guys come in who didn’t look very comfortable and lost control of the momentum a little bit, and we never got it back.”
Thomas added a game-high six assists in the outing. Three other River Hawks scored in double digits on the night, including redshirt freshman Josh Gantz (Grove City, Ohio) with 10 points and seven boards. Freshman Isaac White (Ashland, Ohio) and sophomore Matt Harris (Erie, Pa.) added to the offensive effort with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The River Hawks won the opening tip and jumped out to an early, 6-2 edge thanks to threes from freshman Ryan Jones (Rio Rancho, N.M.) and White. Rutgers took their first lead of the night at the foul line, but Harris beat the shot clock with a reverse layup and White followed with another bucket from downtown on the next possession to put UMass Lowell on top, 11-7 with 15:22 remaining in the first half.
The Scarlet Knights knotted the score at 11-11 before UMass Lowell used a 7-2 spurt that was capped off by a tip-in from Thomas to pull ahead, 18-13, at 12:31. The home team answered, however, with a 10-2 run to regain the upper hand, 25-22, with less than eight minutes to play in the first.
Gantz made it a one-point game at 27-26, but Rutgers would tally 10 straight points to take a 37-26 advantage with 2:51 still to go. Gantz snapped the silence for UMass Lowell and Thomas followed with a layup of his own, but the Scarlet Knights scored six of the last eight points in the half to take a 43-32 lead into the break.
The River Hawks opened the second half with a 7-2 stretch, including a three from the wing by Gantz, making it a two-possession game at 45-39. The home squad created a double-digit buffer before freshman Logan Primerano (Peru, Ind.) hit from long range and White drove hard to the hoop for a layup to cut the difference to 51-46 with 13:25 still to play.
Rutgers recorded 10 consecutive points, although Primerano would convert at the foul line and Harris drained a three from the wing, pulling the River Hawks within 12 at 9:52. The Scarlet Knights then put together a 12-3 run to take a 75-54 margin, and despite the visitors working to pull within 16 on a three by Harris, Rutgers went on to seal the 89-66 outcome.
Omari Grier paced the Scarlet Knights offensively with 22 points, while Jonathan Laurent led the team on the boards with 15 rebounds. He added 13 points for a double-double effort. Corey Sanded registered 20 points in the decision, as well.
Monday’s contest marked the first meeting ever between UMass Lowell and Rutgers in the sport of men’s basketball. The River Hawks close out their four-game road swing at Wagner on Wednesday, December 30 with a 7 p.m. tilt.