UMass overcomes suspension of two starters to beat Dayton

Chicago native Luwane Pipkins stars in victory for Minutemen

The Dayton Flyers found out Friday that Massachusetts would be down two starters Saturday. The Minutemen knew Thursday they wouldn’t have junior center Rashaan Holloway and senior guard C.J. Anderson.

In the end, the short-handed roster didn't matter. Without two players who average 18.5 points between them, UMass beat Dayton 62-60 on Saturday at UD Arena.

“We knew the guys were going to have to play an enormous amount of minutes,” UMass coach Matt McCall said.

» GAME STORY: Grant says energy and focus were lacking for Dayton

Luwane Pipkins, a former AAU teammate of Dayton’s Josh Cunningham in Chicago, played 37 minutes and scored 25 points. Carl Pierre played 35 minutes and had 15 points. Seven UMass players saw action. Six played at least 28 minutes.

“At the end of the day, we’ve got to play hard,” Pipkins said. “We’ve got to play tough. We’ve got to play to our identity. We stayed together and just got the job done.”

Better performance: One of the few bright spots for Dayton was the offensive performance of Xeyrius Williams. He made all three of his 3-point shots and scored 11 points in 25 minutes. He played six minutes in the team's A-10 opener at Duquesne and then 16 minutes Wednesday against St. Bonaventure.

“A lot of times my productivity defensively hasn’t been there,” Williams said. “That’s why I’ve been sitting out and not playing as much as I would like to. Coach (Anthony) Grant talked to me. I’m trying to buy in on the defensive end, just make all the hustle plays I can make.”

Coaching connection: McCall and Grant coached against each other for the first time as head coaches. They were both on Billy Donovan's staff at Florida in 2006 when the Gators won the national championship.

“I owe a tremendous amount to (Grant),” McCall said. “It’s like playing against your dad. It really is. He’s going to have this program through the roof in no time, not only because of the type of coach he is but I think if you go around to different people in our business, the one thing they’ll talk about is his character.”

Looking ahead: Dayton (7-8, 1-2) plays at Richmond at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Spiders (3-11, 1-1) entered the weekend with the worst overall record in the A-10.

Richmond opened conference play with a 69-58 victory at home against Davidson and then lost 69-65 in overtime at Fordham on Wednesday.

Dayton has won five straight games against Richmond after losing 73-64 at the Robins Center in 2014. The Flyers ended a six-game losing streak at the Robins Center with an 85-84 victory in 2016.

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