ASSAU, Bahamas - A well-balanced attack led UMass to its third-straight blowout win on its Bahamas Tour, with a 126-59 win over the Quick Kicks Rockets on Monday night at Loyola Hall. All five starters and six total Minutemen scored in double-figures, but no one scored more than 20. Senior captain Rashaun Freeman led the way with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Fellow starters Stephane Lasme (17), Chris Lowe (13), Gary Forbes (12) and Brandon Thomas (12) all reached double-figures. Off the bench, junior forward Dante Milligan tallied 14 points along with nine rebounds.
Freshman point guard Tiki Mayben handed out a trip-best 12 assists along with eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
"I was very happy to try so many different combinations once again," said head coach Travis Ford. "We were even able to play Gary Forbes at the point guard with four forwards in the second half - which created a huge line-up."
The game provided the best competition thus far on the trip as the Rockets were the second-place finishers in the Bahamas Pro League in the first half of the season which was completed earlier this month.
UMass' shooting was on display all night as they wrapped up the game with 35-point fourth quarter including six points from senior walk-on Matt Pennie.
Lasme also added five blocked shots including three consecutive swats in the second quarter.
The second quarter saw UMass put together its best defensive quarter of the trip, holding the Rockets to just six points in the second, while UMass posted 29 points. The Minutemen opened the second quarter on an 11-0 run with Lowe adding five points in the spurt.
After the Rockets scored five of the next nine points, UMass went on a 12-0 run to take a 64-15 lead just prior to the opposition scoring the final basket. With the 64-17 lead, Thomas was the top scorer in the first half with 11 points. Lasme, Freeman and Milligan all had nine in the first 20 minutes.
UMass took to the Rockets early. Leading 3-2, the Minutemen scored 14 consecutive points to take a 17-2 lead on a three-point play by Thomas, giving him nine points in the quarter. Milligan also scored nine points in the first 10 minutes of action as UMass led 35-11 at the end of the first stanza.
The Minutemen continue action on their Bahamas Tour on Tuesday as they take on the Commonwealth Bank Giants at 9 p.m., at Loyola Hall. Listen again on UMassAthletics.com.
We apologize for a loss of the signal in the second half of Monday's game. We are working to correct it for the final two games.
ASSAU, Bahamas -- When the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team is on ESPN this season, some Bahamian fans are likely to tune in at least for a few minutes, if only to see Stephane Lasme.
In the three games on the island so far, the Minuteman senior big man has become a crowd favorite as the fans quickly learned to pay close attention when he has the ball. The three games have been an exhibition of Lasme's athletic ability and he's delivered an array of highlight-film dunks.
In Monday night's 126-59 win over the Rockets at Loyola Hall, Lasme put on a dunk-and-block show early and dominated at both ends.
In one sequence, he had a one-handed windmill dunk followed by a blocked shot at the other end, both of which drew gasps and cheers from the fans. The next time down the floor, Lasme passed up a difficult dunk opportunity for an easy layup. The crowd awwwed in disappointment, hoping for the dunk.
After another block a fan yelled to a Rocket player, 'You can't go in there against him.'
It's been a similar theme the whole trip. Not knowing his name, a Crimestoppers fan Saturday yelled, 'Stay away from Elasticman.'
'He's athletic and they love to watch him play,' UMass coach Travis Ford said. 'He's playing very well.'
Lasme seemed amused by all of it.
'They get caught up in the energy,' he said. 'I'm doing it for my teammates, but if they like it that's good.'
Lasme's athleticism has allowed him to adapt quickly to the Minutemen's increase in tempo.
'It's a very fun style to play. Everybody on the team loves playing up and down,' he said. 'It's going to bring a lot of attention to the team.'
Lasme had 17 points, nine rebounds and five blocks Monday, while Rashaun Freeman led the team with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Dante Milligan added 14 points and nine rebounds, while Chris Lowe had 13 points and Gary Forbes and Brandon Thomas each added 12.
Tiki Mayben, who hadn't attempted many jump shots before Monday's game, made two 3-pointers and had eight points. He continued his nifty passing with 12 assists.
The Minutemen face the Giants tonight at 9 tonight at Loyola Hall.
BIG LINEUP -- If Monday's game is any indication, Forbes is the team's third-string point guard. He's played every position but center so far. Late in the third quarter Ford intentionally went with a big lineup ' Forbes, Thomas, Milligan, Luke Bonner and Etienne Brower. Ford wanted to see that lineup execute a half-court trap.
'I wanted to try Gary at the point, because he can definitely do that,' Ford said. 'When you have guys out there where everybody is 6-foot-7 or bigger, you can really create some problems when you're trapping.'
SLOW GOING FOR BONNER -- Because none of UMass' opponents have had anything resembling a true post presence, Bonner's opportunities to make an impact have been somewhat limited. He had his best game of the trip with eight points and six rebounds.
'It's hard for all the bigs,' Ford said. 'It's tougher for bigger guys because the court is so spread out so they don't get any true low-post game going. The game is so fast so it's difficult for them. But Luke is playing great and has a great understanding of what we're doing. He'll start making 3s and get more opportunities when the game gets into a half-court game.'
NEW GYM -- With stands on both sides, better lighting, locker rooms and air conditioning, Loyola Hall, the site of Monday's game and final two, proved to be a considerable upgrade from the D.W. Davis School.
DUCKS -- UMass is no longer the only NCAA Division I team on the island as Oregon made its debut Sunday night by beating the Shockers 108-69. The Minutemen face the Shockers Wednesday. The NCAA prohibits UMass and Oregon from facing each other.
|Note: Bahamas team rosters are unofficial, and game statistics were done by hand during the game. Every effort was made to record accurate stats, but may not be exact.|
at Loyola Hall
Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas
Colebrook 2 2-2=6, Whylly 4 0-3=8, Brown 4 0-0=10, Polidor 1 0-4=2, Sands 3 4-8=10, Ferguson 1 0-0=2, Mortimer 0 0-0=0, Rolle 0 4-6=4, Glanton 0 0-0=0, Minus 1 0-0=3, Clarke 0 0-0=0, Barr 4 2-2=10, Kelly 1 0-0=3. TOTALS 21 12-25=59
Score By Quarter
3-Pointers: UMass - Life 3, Mayben 2, Thomas 2, Lowe 1. Rockets - Brown 2, Minus 1, Kelly 1.