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Lutete Hits for 35 in UML’s Comeback Win

January 20, 2019

WEST HARTFORD -- Redshirt-junior Christian Lutete drained a personal-best seven three-pointers en route to a career-high 35 points, as the UMass Lowell men’s basketball team battled back late to earn a 76-73 victory at America East foe Hartford on Saturday afternoon.

Men’s basketball

Lowell improved to 11-9 overall, 3-2 in America East play. Hartford is 9-10, 2-2.

Hartford led for almost 32 minutes in the contest before Lutete knocked down back-to-back threes to put the River Hawks ahead, 64-61, with 6:20 left to play.

The home team would close the gap to just one on five occasions in the final minutes, including a 74-73 with less than a minute to go, but Lutete converted on a pair of free throws in the final seconds to help his team hold on for the decision.

“It’s so hard to get a road victory in this league, especially against a really good team like Hartford,” said UML coach Pat Duquette. “We struggled in the first half and I wasn’t sure how we were going to turn it around, but credit to our guys. They stuck with it, really rebounded in the second half and gave us some great contributions, especially from Christian.”

The victory gave the River Hawks their third consecutive conference win for the first time since 2015-16, in addition to marking their best start in league action since 2016-17.

Lutete, who now has two 30-point performances this season, was joined in double figures by sophomore Obadiah Noel, who set a new career high of his own with 23 points, and redshirt-senior Josh Gantz with 10 points.

Hartford outscored UMass Lowell, 8-4, coming out of halftime, but Gantz, Lutete and Noel combined for the River Hawks’ next 12 points to make it just a one-point game at 51-50 with 12:30 still to play. Back-to-back threes helped the Hawks extend their buffer before the visitors began their final comeback.

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