NEWARK, N.J. – Senior Allin Blunt (Crownsville, Md.) recorded a game-high 12 points in a 59-55 setback for the UMass Lowell men’s basketball team (13-12, 5-8 AE) at NJIT (11-13, 6-8 AE) on Wednesday.
The Highlanders limited the River Hawks to just two three-pointers to hold the lead for the last 35 minutes of the night.
Blunt was joined in double figures by sophomores Max Brooks (Waldorf, Md.) and Ayinde Hikim (Washington, D.C.). Sophomore Quinton Mincey (Upper Marlboro, Md.) finished with eight rebounds, as well.
Brooks drove hard for the River Hawks’ first four points of the night and Hall added a bucket of his own to give his squad a one-possession lead early on, but NJIT would mount a 9-0 run to pull ahead, 13-6, with 11:51 remaining in the first half.
Brooks snapped five scoreless minutes before Mincey followed with back-to-back buckets from the paint, including a slam dunk that made it a one-point game, 13-12, at 8:53. However, the home team outscored the River Hawks, 14-5, in the waning minutes to take a 27-17 edge into the break.
Blunt went to work coming out of halftime, scoring six of the River Hawks’ first eight points to make it a four-point game. The Highlanders answered with a 12-5 spurt to create the first double-digit difference of the contest, 41-30, with 10:59 still to go.
NJIT maintained at least a seven-point buffer for the majority of the half, until Hikim rolled in a layup and junior Kalil Thomas (New Orleans, La.) knocked down a three on the next trip up the court to spark the River Hawk offense and cut the lead to 54-48 with 39 seconds on the clock. Mincey slammed one home 13 seconds of game action later ahead of a jumper from Hikim to put the River Hawks within five. Thomas was then fouled on a long attempt and sunk all three free throws, closing the gap back to three, 58-55, with five seconds remaining, but the Highlanders were able to stave off the comeback.
The River Hawks are back home on Saturday, February 19 when they host Binghamton at the Tsongas Center at 5 p.m.
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