RJ Luis’ career night pushes UMass over Richmond – Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Lewis scores 23 in come-from-behind victory

Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

In his first career start, true freshman RJ Lewis put up 23 points on career night to help the Massachusetts men’s basketball team beat Richmond at home on Wednesday, 85-76.

Lewis is one of the Atlantic 10’s most prolific freshmen so far this season. Tyler With his great performance against Burton’s Spiders (11-10, 4-4 A-10), he posted his double-digit scoring streak in his 6th game, averaging 14.5 per game during the stretch. Got points. The 6-foot-7 guard stepped up big in star guard Noah’s Fernandez-absent Minutemen (12-8, his A-10 to 3-5), making him one of the best players in the conference. beat one of him, Burton. – In the process.

“RJ works really hard, so I’m really happy to see him spending a lot of time in the gym, so I’m really happy with him,” said Wildens Leveque of the UMass Center. I was.

Lewis did it all in 35 minutes, adding seven rebounds and five assists in one turnover and shooting 9-10 from the free-throw line. The Minute Men’s exciting newcomer had game-closing coolness on the line, hitting big threes across the arc and on defense he stayed on the court with four fouls.

But with foul trouble and growing responsibility for the offense, Burton’s third-leading scorer in the A-10s and guarding a tricky Princeton-style offense as a freshman can be tough.

“If I still had hair, I would say defensively that I was going to pull it out with him,” Martin said. We gotta let him play, RJ’s a good kid, kind of freshman guarding Burton in fifth grade, RJ’s a real freshman, and he’s fighting with his tail , like all freshmen, it’s hard to grow without information in his ears and he’s going through that stage now…he’s a great kid and a talented kid.

“Honestly, at college level it’s different. With four fouls it gets a little tricky,” Lewis said of the balance of aggression in foul trouble. “Don’t use your hands or slip your feet just trying to stay forward.”

In Lewis’ last six games, he moved to second on the A-10 freshman scoring leaderboard with 10.1 points per game.

A striking aspect of Lewis’ performance that didn’t show until Wednesday was his ability to pass off the dribble. Although he struggled with turnovers at times this season, Lewis has shown an encouraging ability to manage the ball while executing difficult passes on pick-and-rolls. That, along with being a foul-pulling and knockdown jumper, couldn’t stop him all night. His five assists tied a career high.

His shots across the 3-point line have been consistent throughout the season, ranking second on the team at 41.4%. He shot his 2-for-6 from deep against the Spiders, but both make-ups went big for his UMass.

The first basket was also the first basket of the contest, sparking the hosts’ 8-0 run, in which he scored five points. On his second make he stopped a 7–0 Richmond run and equalized with his four minutes remaining. He then scored four consecutive points in the final minute to help the Minutemen put the game away.

Lewis came out as needed and pushed UMass forward in a back-and-forth game with a shot-for-shot against the Spiders.

“RJ made 3 – I was going to choke him [for a mistake] – But give him credit, they didn’t keep him, so he said, “Really?” And he jumped out and shot it,” Martin said. “It takes courage to play, but you can’t be a hero away from team discipline. Today, I thought the harder the game got, the closer we got.”

Since the first game of the season, it was clear how much Martin cared about Lewis. Because the freshman is one of the players Martin yells at the most.

To contact Pedro Gray Soares: [email protected] Followed on Twitter @P_GraySoares.

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