PAT LONGOBARDI — Sports Writer
The SCSU men’s basketball team had to fight from behind for the majority of the second half but were unable to pull the tough game out at home.
That Owls determination was not enough as UMass- Lowell defeated SCSU 89-83 in a Northeast-10 Conference game at Moore Field House.
Southern was on a three-game losing streak, and they have lost the last four meetings against UMass-Lowell.
The Owls took a 37-35 lead after Greg Langston’s 3-pointer as the seconds were winding down before Dipanjot Singh drilled a 3-pointer and ended the half from the top of the key. UMass-Lowell gained momentum and a 38-37 lead going into halftime.
In the second half, Greg Langston hit another 3-pointer, regaining the lead for the Owls 48-47 with 16:21 left. This would be their final lead of the game.
“It was an enjoyable game and well-played,” Southern head coach Michael Donnelly said. “[UMass-Lowell] had some tough finishes to their credit. The best part of the game was when we were down eight. We could have easily lost by 15,” Donnelly said. “It was not a lack of effort. Akeem Williams is a really good player. The way we battled was very promising
in the program’s future.”
The Owls took a hit when Greg Langston left the game early in the second half after being hit in the mouth while fighting for a rebound. Langston returned with almost eight minutes to play.
UMass-Lowell would then go on a 7-0 run capped off when Antonio Bivins hit a jumper to take a 58-50 lead. UMass-Lowell then opened up some lengthy leads of eight and nine points before Southern made it close, playing excellent defense down the stretch.
Southern got within five points with 1:49 left as the Owls defense stepped up with a stop on the other end. As Trevon Hamlet went to get the rebound, he lost control of the ball, causing Akeem Williams to make an easy layup to take a 83-76 lead.
The Owls then cut the lead again to two points with 25 seconds left after Luke Houston’s layup, but UMass-Lowell made their free throws to close the game.
“I feel we did well together,” Houston said. “It was a tough loss. They (UMass-Lowell) are difficult to wear down. UMass- Lowell is well-conditioned and got easy buckets. They were picked as a preseason top 10 and we played well. We will definitely move forward.”
UMass-Lowell out-rebounded Southern 41-36 with 29 defensive rebounds. SCSU committed 14 turnovers.
For the Owls, although this was a loss, some players felt this was a huge step forward against a quality team and a tournament contender.
“It was a great game; they are a great team,” freshman guard Tylon Smith said. “We played well and it came down to the wire. We knew it wasn’t going to be a blowout. We are headed in the right direction and we have a pretty young team. We came together as a team and played hard. The wins will take care of themselves.”
Bivins, a sophomore forward, led UMass-Lowell with 26 points and seven rebounds. Williams had 23 points and Singh had 20 points.
Sophomore guard/forward Dominique Langston led the Owls with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Greg Langston had 21 points. Houston had 11 points. Smith had 10 points and five rebounds.