thens, Greece -- The Massachusetts basketball team dropped a 73-61 decision to Team Hellas to open its four game foreign tour here Tuesday night.
"I thought we played well in the first half, but we ran out of gas in the second half," UMass coach Steve Lappas said. "I was very pleased with our effort, but in the second half, we missed some shots, turned the ball over and got wore down. Some of that (being tired) can be expected because it was our first game here."
The Minutemen led just three times in the game, the last at 6-4 with 8:07 left in the first quarter on a jumper in the lane by senior forward Ronell Blizzard. UMass trailed, 23-19, after the first period.
Team Hellas opened the second period on a 7-0 run to push its advantage to 30-19 with 6:27 left. A 12-3 run by UMass over the next 2:27, with half of the points in that span coming from senior forward Eric Williams, brought the visitors to within 33-31 with 4:00 to play on a Williams dunk. UMass would cut the Team Hellas lead to one on three occasions in the final 3:33 of the half, the last at 37-36 with 1:54 left on a free throw from sophomore guard Anthony Anderson. Team Hellas held a 40-36 lead at intermission.
The home team never allowed the Minutemen to get closer than three in the third quarter, and held a 55-50 advantage going into the fourth period, before opening the fourth period on a 9-0 run to put the game away. UMass didn't score in the fourth quarter until the 4:21 mark on a free throw by senior center Kitwana Rhymer made it 64-51.
For the game, the Minutemen hit 25 of 66 from the field, but had 20 turnovers. The Minutemen made more field goals (25) than Team Hellas (20), but the home team made 27-of-42 from the foul line, compared to nine-of-15 for UMass.
Junior forward Micah Brand and Williams paced the UMass offensive attack with 11 points each, while Rhymer had nine and Blizzard netted eight.
"Our three big guys played well until they got tired in the second half," Lappas said. "And, I thought Anthony (Anderson) did some nice things, too."
Anderson, playing in his first game as a Minuteman after sitting out the 2000- 01 season due to academics, scored six points and had five assists and three steals.
"It felt good to be out there tonight," Anderson said. "It sure beat playing intramurals like I did last year. I was confidant in what we were trying to do, but the rules (the game was played under international rules) really messed me up.
"It was our first time playing together and with the motion offense, but overall, it went pretty well," he added. The Minutemen, who will be off on Wednesday, play Team Hellas here Thursday and Friday, before facing the Greek National Team next Sunday. Team Hellas had three players in double figures.
Score by Quarters: UMass 19 17 14 11 -- 61 Team Hellas 23 17 15 18 -- 73UMass Scoring: Brand 11, Williams 11, Rhymer 9, Blizzard 8, Crooks 7, Anderson 6, Lamb 6, Pugh 3, Jenkins 0, Killings 0, Rogers DNP.
UMass Rebounding Leaders: Williams 9, Brand 8.
UMass Assist Leaders: Anderson 5, Lamb 3.
UMass Steal Leaders: Anderson 3, Rhymer 2.
UMass Block Leaders: Brand 4, Rhymer 4.