thens, Greece -- The UMass basketball team dropped an 83-68 decision to Team Hellas here Thursday evening and fell to 0-2 on its four-game exhibition tour through Greece.
The Minutemen opened the game on a 7-1 run, as senior forward Jackie Rogers netted five of the team's points in that stretch. Team Hellas, made up of professional players from Greece who will represent the country in next month's Mediterranean Games, led only once in the opening quarter, at 1-0.
"I think I liked the first game better because we were starting with a zero baseline," UMass coach Steve Lappas said. "Now, I had come to expect a couple of things, at least in this game. We came out strong in the first half, but then we didn't do the things we needed to. In the second half, we had a good run and hung in there, but it wasn't enough to win a game."
UMass led by as many as eight points on five occasions in the opening quarter and took a 22-14 lead into the second period. But, after taking its biggest lead of the game at 27-18 with 8:08 left in the period on a runner in the lane by senior guard Shannon Crooks, UMass would go five minutes without scoring as Team Hellas used a 17-0 run to take a 35-29 lead with 3:49 left. Sophomore forward Raheim Lamb's jumper and a pair of free throws by senior forward Eric Williams brought the Minutemen to within 35-31 at the 2:27 mark, but that was as close as they would get for the rest of the game, as Team Hellas took a 39-33 halftime lead.
"You can't have droughts like that against a team like this, because they are very good," Lappas said. "They have some really good players. This (play basketball) is what they do for a living."
In the second half, Team Hellas scored on its first two possessions to move its lead to 43-33, before Crooks' lay-up made it 43-35 with 8:52 left in the period, but that would be the only points scored by the Minutemen in the first four and a half minutes of the second half. Team Hellas used a 10-0 run to make it 53-35 with 6:11 left in the quarter, and enjoyed its biggest lead of the game at 59-39 at the 4:06 mark. UMass, though, scored the final eight points of the period, with four coming from Williams, to pull within 13 at 60-47 heading into the final period.
Trailing, 68-54 with 5:55 left in the game, the Minutemen used a 7-0 run to pull within 68-61 on a Crooks lay-in with 3:56 left, but could get no closer as Team Hellas held off the comeback to beat the visitors for the second time in three days.
"They are a good team," Crooks said of Team Hellas. "Their experience showed a lot more than ours, as far as playing together. We wanted to win very badly.
"It's still early--it's August, he added. "A lot of guys are still adapting to this style of play and the officials. I know it's hard to block it out, but we have to."
Four players scored in double figures for the Minutemen, led by Williams' team-high 14 points off the bench. He also grabbed a team-leading eight rebounds. Rhymer (13 points), Crooks (11) and Rogers (10) also tallied double digits for the Minutemen. Three players scored in double figures for Team Hellas.
Crooks had five assists, six steals and just one turnover for UMass, while sophomore guards Anthony Anderson and Jameel Pugh each had three assists.
"I thought Anthony Anderson came out and played strong and Eric Williams played well," Lappas said. "Shannon played much better than he did on Tuesday. So, we had some positives."
For the game, UMass made one less field goal (28-27) than Team Hellas, but made just two treys (in five attempts) compared to five three's for the home team, and were outscored at the foul line 21-12.
UMass faces Team Hellas here Friday night, then plays the Greek National Team on Sunday.
Score by Quarters: UMass 22 11 14 21 -- 68 Team Hellas 14 25 21 23 -- 83UMass Scoring: Williams 14; Rhymer 13; Crooks 11; Rogers 10; Brand 7; Anderson 5; Lamb 4; Blizzard 2; Pugh 2; Jenkins 0; Killings DNP.
UMass Three-Pointers (2-9): Anderson (1-1);
Crooks (1-2); Blizzard (0-3); Pugh (0-3).
UMass Rebounding Leaders: Williams (8), Brand (4), Rhymer (4).
UMass Steal Leaders: Crooks (6), 7 with one.
UMass Assist Leaders: Crooks (5), Anderson (3), Pugh (3).
UMass Blocked Shot Leaders: Rhymer (2), Blizzard (1).