Massachusetts rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit to defeat Saint Joseph’s, 72-69, in Atlantic 10 action at the Mullins Center. Seniors Shavar Newkirk and James Demery scored 22 points apiece for SJU (7-9; 2-3 A-10).
Luwane Pipkins scored 27 points to lead UMass (10-8; 3-2), Carl Pierre had 17 points and C.J. Anderson scored 12 as the Minutemen won their second straight rallying from a double-digit deficit.
Freshman Anthony Longpre’ had a season-high 11 points and seven assists for Saint Joseph’s as he made the start in place of Pierfrancesco Oliva, who was sidelined with the flu.
The Hawks held 41-25 lead with over 13 minutes to play before UMass put together an 11-3 run to get its deficit under double digits to trail, 44-36, at 13:29.
Saint Joseph’s maintained the lead and increased it to 52-41 with 10:10 to go. UMass then went on an 23-7 spurt, tying the game at 59-59 on a three by Rayshawn Miller at 5:34, and then going ahead, 64-59, on a three by Pierre at 3:09.
Saint Joseph’s came within 66-65, after two free throws by Demery with a minute remaining, but the Hawks were forced to foul and Pipkins hit a pair at :35 to give UMass the three-point margin. SJU would come within a point two more times, but Pipkins was perfect at the line, as he made all six free throws in the final 35 seconds to seal the win.
UMass shot 63 percent from the field in the second half and hit 5-of-7 three-pointers while the Hawks made just 1-of-11 three-point attempts in that half.
Newkirk led Saint Joseph’s at the start and the Hawks took a quick 11-3 lead. The teams were tied 16-16 but the Hawks went on a 7-0 run, led by five points from Longpre’ to go ahead, 23-16. SJU kept it going and led, 29-25, before closing out the half with eight straight points to take a 37-25 lead into intermission.
Newkirk scored 14 in the first half on 6-for-10 shooting as the Hawks converted 58.3 percent from the field.
Saint Joseph’s returns home for a pair of games this week, beginning on Wednesday, January 17, against Dayton. That game will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network at 6:30 p.m.