PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Luwane Pipkins attacked the basket for the first 30 minutes and scored 22 points.
He scored just four in the final 10 minutes Friday, but he made his last basket count. His layup with 10.7 seconds left shocked a packed Dunkin Donuts Center as the Minutemen rallied from an 18-point halftime deficit to stun Providence, 79-78.
The Minutemen’s furious second-half comeback was fueled by three Carl Pierre 3-pointers in 65 seconds. After the Friars adjusted to take away Pipkins’ driving lanes, Pierre heated up from deep. His first trey started a 10-1 run, including his own personal nine-point stretch, that brought UMass within single digits.
Pierre finished with 15 points, all in the second half.
UMass broke through and took the lead on a Curtis Cobb layup with 2:25 left in regulation. It was its first advantage since it was 11-9. Providence responded with a layup a few moments later, but UMass held on to make two critical stops down the stretch, the last of which was sealed when Alpha Diallo missed a layup under pressure from Rashaan Holloway.
UMass fell into its large hole in the middle of the first half when Providence scored 10 straight points and 18 of 21 in a six-minute stretch to inflate its one-point lead. The Friars simple took advantage of the Minutemen’s miscues and scored 12 points off UMass’ seven first-half turnovers and scored eight second-chance points.
Freshman Samba Diallo made his first career start in place of Jonathan Laurent, who missed the game with a knee injury. Diallo scored seven points and secured a game-high 10 rebounds in 27 minutes while contributing some impressive defense as well.