ST. LOUIS — The UMass basketball team picked a bad time to go cold.
Saint Louis capitalized on a rough shooting stretch by the Minutemen Thursday night to post a 70-62 win at Chaifetz Arena in the Atlantic 10 opener for both schools.
UMass had a seven-game win streak snapped, its longest since the first seven games of the 2010-11 season. The Minutemen (10-4) had won their last seven road games as well, dating to last season.
UMass missed 9 of 11 shots over the final 9:28 to hand the game to the Billikens (12-3), who won their ninth in a row.
Sophomore Cady Lalanne had a career-high 18 points in 29 minutes off the bench, as well as 13 rebounds, to lead UMass. Chaz Williams added 14 points and seven assists.
Jesse Morgan, the team’s No. 2 scorer at 14.5
points per game, suffered a right knee sprain early in the second half. He did not return, and finished scoreless.
“It didn’t look good, it didn’t sound good,” said UMass coach Derek Kellogg. “I’m really praying that he’s OK.”
Saint Louis forward Rob Loe scored a career-high 20 points.
The Minutemen put together a gutsy effort in a tough venue, but couldn’t make a basket down the stretch. They took their biggest lead, 54-50, on a 3-pointer by Williams with 9:28 left. They then went 4:55 without a field goal, allowing the Billikens to regain control.
Williams, who missed 10 of 16 shots, took the blame.
“I couldn’t find the bucket,” he said. “This loss weighs heavily on me. Being the leader, I’m supposed to make some of those plays down the stretch.”
Kellogg felt his team was in position to steal a win before closing 2 for 11. The Minutemen appeared to gain the momentum with an 8-0 run, as Freddie Riley hit a 3-pointer and Lalanne scored from close range to give UMass a 51-50 lead. Williams then pushed the advantage to 54-50.
But Saint Louis responded with a 20-8 run.
“To see the kids play their hearts out [and come up empty] was draining,” said Kellogg.
Loe felt the Billikens’ defense in the second half was the difference.
“We just tried to get stop after stop,” he said. “We said in the huddle that if we got some defensive stops we were going to win this game.”