Adams, Mobley too much for UMass

  • UMass forward Malik Hines wins the opening tipoff in the Minutemen’s loss Saturday at St. Bonaventure for the Recorder/STEVE HARRISON

  • UMass guard Luwane Pipkins tries to drive around the defense in the Minutemen’s loss Saturday at St. Bonaventure. for the recorder/STEVE HARRISON

  • Malik Hines leaps for a rebound Saturday in UMass’ 98-78 loss at St. Bonaventure. STEVE HARRISON PHOTO

For The Recorder
Sunday, December 31, 2017

OLEAN, N.Y. — The UMass men’s basketball team isn’t going to be disappointed to see Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley graduate.

At times Saturday it seemed as though the outstanding St. Bonaventure backcourt mates were having a contest to see who’d have the bigger scoring night. For everyone at the Reilly Center other than the Minutemen, it was an entertaining showdown. For UMass, it was part of a rough afternoon as the Minutemen fell, 98-78, in the Atlantic 10 opener for both teams.

“Anytime you have two players like that play that well offensively and shoot that well, it’s going to be hard to win,” UMass coach Matt McCall said. “You’ve got to give them a lot of credit.”

The duo scored inside, outside (9-for-16 from 3-point range) and from the free-throw line (11-for-13), and the Minutemen had no answers. Adams was just shy of his career-high 35 with 32 points, seven assists and no turnovers. Mobley, a Worcester native, scored 28.

“They cause you so many problems,” McCall said. “They take so many shots. Not all of them are great. They’re not all clean looks, but they’re such dynamic scorers that if they get a crack and a look, then they’re in a rhythm and the basket gets opened up even more. ... They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with in the next 17 games.”

Trailing 47-38 at halftime, Rashaan Holloway (10 points) and Malik Hines (16 points, seven rebounds) helped UMass quickly cut the lead to 49-44 less than two minutes after the break. But the Bonnies (11-2, 1-0 A-10) scored 23 of the next 27 points to put the game away.

“We just couldn’t respond when they went on that run,” McCall said.

Luwane Pipkins, whose minutes (30) were limited slightly by foul trouble led the Minutemen (7-7, 0-1 A-10) with 17 points and three assists. C.J. Anderson added 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

UMass hosts George Mason at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The Minutemen, who have had slow starts on numerous occasions this season, fell behind 11-2 and 23-10, but appeared to weather the early storm. Unique McLean had two dunks in a 15-1 run that put UMass up 25-24 with 6:20 left in the half.

St. Bonaventure’s two all-conference guards almost appeared to take Minutemen’s surge personally. Adams had 13 points and Mobley added six points, two assists and two rebounds during a 21-8 run that got the home team’s lead back to double figures at 45-33 with 1:55 left in the half.

“It’s frustrating. We didn’t play our best. We lacked aggressiveness. We got outhustled, outworked, outtoughed,” McCall said. “That’s what we’re trying to hang our hat on going into the game. We didn’t do that.”