Home » Columns »Your Phil of Hoops » Currently Reading:

New to Division I, UMass-Lowell gets blitzed in Boston

November 14, 2013 Columns, Your Phil of Hoops No Comments

BOSTON – Welcome to Division I, UMass-Lowell.

Wednesday night’s 91-65 loss at Boston University was not the first game in Division I for the River Hawks. It was, in fact, their second. But they’re still new to this level, and Wednesday night’s game seemed over before it started with the way the early minutes went.

“They did ambush us,” said sophomore guard D.J. Mlachnik. “We knew that was coming.”

UMass-Lowell was blitzed right out of the gates by Boston University on Wednesday night. They fell behind 9-1 and later by margins of 22-4 and 43-17 in the first half. In stark contrast to their opener, where they were tied at halftime, this one was never a ballgame. BU made 11 of their first 12 shots from the field in just over six minutes to start.

The first year in Division I is not going to be easy for UMass-Lowell, as one might expect. This is a team that was recruited to play Division II, although senior guard Akeem Williams had some serious Division I interest, and many others had at least minimal interest somewhere along the way. This season, they will play almost entirely Division I games – they do have a game scheduled against Mount Ida on December 1 – so this isn’t a team that’s going to be favored on many, if any, nights on the floor. They have a new coaching staff as well, and there’s always some level of adjustment to that.

To be sure, Wednesday night’s score is not merely the result of a difference in talent, athleticism and/or experience. In the first half, Boston University was on, even hitting jumpers, and UMass-Lowell didn’t play as well as they could. When a game is a blowout like this, it’s often a reflection of the winning team having that good a night and the losing team having that bad a night.

Just look at the first half numbers, with Boston University leading the River Hawks 64-35 at the half after scoring the last nine points of the half. The Terriers shot 64.1 percent from the field, including 6-14 from long range, and had 14 assists on 25 baskets while UMass-Lowell had 14 turnovers. BU made as many field goals as UMass-Lowell had attempted en route to setting a school record for points in a half.

Much like in their opener, the River Hawks weren’t taking on just anyone. They went up against Michigan in the opener, last season’s national runner-up and a team that should be able to make a run in the NCAA Tournament again this season. On Wednesday night, they took on the Patriot League favorites. Both were on the road, something else that will be familiar as they will be at home just twice during the first semester.

The River Hawks aren’t going to embarrass themselves on the perimeter. Akeem Williams could finish his career with 2,500 points, as he can score against anyone. D.J. Mlachnik can shoot, and showed a lot of promise in Wednesday night’s game. In the first half, he was about the only bright spot. Junior Chad Holley is talented as well and seemed to play better in the second half. The three combined for 49 of their 65 points on Wednesday.

The big reason this game got out of hand is that it was an up-and-down game due to turnovers. While they kept the turnovers down in the second half, giving it away just eight times, in the first half the Terriers got numerous fast break baskets off turnovers. Head coach Pat Duquette said that and some of the first game made it clear the first mission for this team to compete.

“For us, the importance of making it a halfcourt game,” said Duquette, who is in his first season as the head coach. “One of our goals going into the game was to eliminate transition and make it a halfcourt game. Moving forward, we know that’s our best chance to be competitive with our Division I schedule, to dictate the pace and play a halfcourt game.”

It doesn’t get any easier for UMass-Lowell, especially with many games on the road. They still have to go to the likes of improving Dartmouth, Rhode Island and Cincinnati before they settle in to America East opponents. Nights like Wednesday night probably won’t be too commonplace in that the Terriers simply blitzed them. But they may happen during this first season, and it can be part of the growing pains of transitioning into Division I.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

College Basketball Tonight – March 26, 2017

March 27, 2017 by

In the latest edition of College Basketball Tonight, we break down the regional finals as the Final Four is all set. A pair of special guests join us to help break the games down.

College Basketball Tonight – March 19, 2017

March 20, 2017 by

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is in the books, and after two rounds that could not be more different. Ted Sarandis leads the way as we break down the first two rounds, as well as coaching news that emerged over the weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 18, 2017

March 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we look back on the first round games in the NCAA Tournament, starting with a couple of terrific performances on Friday night.

College Basketball Tonight – March 12, 2017

March 13, 2017 by

We bring you College Basketball Tonight, a comprehensive look at the 2017 NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran broadcaster Ted Sarandis. The NCAA Tournament field is set, and we break down each region as well as some big picture subjects.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 2

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 2 of our podcast, we talk about the ACC Tournament and others that have found new homes in light of comments made by a prominent coach that got quite a reaction, then we talk about the NCAA Tournament bubble as that subject begins to dominate conversation for a couple of more days.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by

The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.