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UMass-Lowell stuns BC in basketball

The surprises came early Sunday morning for Boston College coach Jim Christian.

"It started at 6 a.m.," Christian said.

First, Christian received a call informing him center Dennis Clifford had food poisoning. Then, during a pregame walkthrough, leading scorer Eli Carter sprained his left ankle.

But the biggest shock came in the afternoon, the Eagles squandering a 10-point lead late in the second half of a 68-66 loss to UMass-Lowell in a nonconference game at Conte Forum.

Freshman point guard Isaac White rallied the River Hawks (4-4), who trailed, 56-46, after Darryl Hicks's 3-pointer with 7:39 remaining.

White scored 17 of his 20 points in the final 6:56, converting four consecutive 3-pointers, plus three free throws in the final 13 seconds.


"[White] had 15 points in his first college game against Northwestern, a Big Ten opponent," UMass-Lowell coach Pat Duquette said. "So, he's shown a lot of confidence early in his development and shown a lot of leadership ability. It's rare you get that much maturity from a freshman at this stage."

Said White: "They took me out in the first half and [assistant coach Nick Leonardelli] told me, 'You're a shooter.' I'm thankful that he told me that.

"The first half, my teammates found me for open shots — I just didn't hit them. Second half, Jahad [Thomas] told me he was going to give me the ball and that gave me a boost of confidence."

Asked if the result was unexpected, Thomas replied: "We know we've got to outwork every opponent. We're undersized, we're not the most athletic. We've got to keep pushing and pushing. We've worked so hard, it wasn't a shock at all."

Freshman point guard Jerome Robinson (16 points) led the way for BC (3-5). But Robinson also had to overcome food poisoning, according to Christian.


"[Robinson] was sick all day, right up to game time," Christian said. "That's why he didn't start the second half, because he was up there throwing up.

"We had a bunch of guys playing out of position. We had no time because all of this stuff happened over the course of last night. So, that hurt. We played pretty much all freshmen. Irregardless of that, you've still got to execute and play."

BC extended a 37-31 halftime lead to double digits early in the second half, continuing a 15-4 run over a 7:38 span covering both halves.

White soon took over, an 8-0 run over a 2:38 span giving UMass-Lowell a 62-61 lead with 1:19 left. The River Hawk rally included 3-pointers by White and Logan Primerano with one second remaining on the shot clock.

The Eagles had chances to regain control before losing their fifth successive game.

White's 3-pointer made it 65-61 with 45 seconds on the clock. BC's A.J. Turner missed an open 3-pointer off an in-bounds play, Mark Cornelius rebounding for the visitors. After two missed free throws by the River Hawks' DJ Mlachnik, Sammy Barnes-Thompkins pulled BC within 65-64 with a 3-pointer.

White's two free throws gave the River Hawks a 3-point edge before Matt Milon cut the BC deficit to 1 with two free throws after his 3-point attempt was blocked. White clinched the result with a foul shot with four seconds to go, the River Hawks snapping a two-game losing streak less than 24 hours after sustaining a 90-77 defeat to New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.


"I definitely think it's our biggest win," said Duquette, a former BC assistant. "Our biggest opponent, they're an ACC team, they're right down the road — everyone knows who BC is. Little extra special when you beat a school like that."

UMass-Lowell's previous wins were against Sacred Heart, Wheelock, and Cornell.

"There's no bright side," Christian said. "We lost. They should have executed and played better. There's no bright side to that.

"I mean, we had the game in hand, just didn't make plays. Same way we lost the other games. Frustrating – wide-open 3s, blown switches, things that we thought we had corrected.

"We're up 1 with two minutes to go, they miss a 3 and get the offensive rebound because we don't block out – same thing that happened last game."

The Eagles visit Providence Wednesday.

"[The Friars] are not going to feel sorry for us," said Christian.

"We've got to get ready to play. So, we've got two days to get ready to play a really good team and be ready to play."