The Myrtle Beach Invitational began with a happy homecoming, as former South Carolina head coach Frank Martin returned to the state he called home for 10 years and watched his new team, the UMass Minutemen, prevail in a physical game against Colorado.
The Minutemen (2-1) used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to break open a tie game, then held on down the stretch as the Buffaloes (2-2) missed three shots in the final 13 seconds that either would have given them the lead or tied the game.
“We have unbelievable relationships and friends with people in this state,” Martin said after the game. “This state was unbelievable to me and my family 10 years ago. My kids are pretty much South Carolinians. It’s a place that’s always going to be real special to us.”
Noah Fernandes paced UMass with 22 points, and RJ Luis added 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Defensively, the Minutemen held Colorado to 34.2 percent shooting for the game (30 percent in the second half) and 24 percent from 3-point range.
“There was an aggression to the game, and neither team buckled,” Martin said. “To play so physical this early in the year is a credit to both teams.”
The Buffaloes had several scoring droughts throughout the contest, at one point missing nine consecutive shots. In addition, Colorado allowed the Minutemen to make 53 percent of their shots in the first half.
“We were lacking energy from the get-go,” said Colorado forward Tristan da Silva, who led the Buffaloes with 17 points. “We wouldn’t be in this position if we had max energy and effort from the beginning. If we don’t start picking it up until five minutes before the end, it’s not going to go well for us.”
Colorado coach Tad Boyle agreed. “I like the competitiveness of our group. But we just weren’t good enough for 40 minutes,” he said. “There are good players on every team, and if you’re not ready to go, you’re going to get beat. That’s what happened to us. We were not ready to go.”
- Ferndnades 16 FTAs most by UMass player since 2/7/17 (Donte Clark 13-16 vs Rhode Island) and tied for the 3rd most by UMass player since start of 2010-11 season
- UMass has now won 6 of its last 8 games decided by one shot (3 points or less)
- CU has now lost just 4 times in its last 30 November games, but 2 of those losses have been this year