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UMass stuns Providence, 79-78

The Friars led by 18 at the half.

NCAA Basketball: Rhode Island at Massachusetts Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Despite holding an 18-point lead going into the half, the Providence Friars suffered a 79-78 loss to the UMass Minutemen on Friday evening in Providence.

Providence hit nine threes in the first half, as it looked like it was going to be a rout in Friartown. A certain blog’s Twitter account even looked up the Providence record for three pointers made in a game!

What changed from the first half to the second half? Well, for one thing, UMass guards Luwane Pipkins and Carl Pierre combined for 28 second-half points. The Friars also had 28 second half points. They had no answer for either player, as all of Pierre’s 15 points came in the second half, and 13 of Pipkins’ game-high 26 did as well.

What else went wrong for Providence in the second half? They stopped being shooting to three pointers. After going 9-14 in the first half, the Friars went just 1-3 in the second half. It makes sense to play a bit more conservatively when you have a big lead, but there was no reason to completely abandon something that worked so well for them.

Coming into the evening, the Friars were 58-2 all-time at home in nonconference games under Ed Cooley. Obviously, a .950 winning percentage is still good, but this will undoubtedly sting for a while as Providence now has a week and a half off for finals before returning to action against Central Connecticut.

Alpha Diallo had another excellent game for the Friars, leading the team in points (21), rebounds (seven), and assists (five). Nate Watson chipped in 14 points of his own.

Providence falls to 7-3 on the season.