UML River Hawks

Men's Basketball team in NCAA tournament.

NCAA First Round Tournament Game Set for Saturday at 8:30 p.m. in Waltham

Lowell – For the third time in as many years, the UMass Lowell men’s basketball team is gearing up for the first round of the NCAA East Regional, this time against the Golden Knights of Saint Rose.  The clash is set for 8:30 on Saturday night at Bentley University’s Dana Center in Waltham, Mass.

The River Hawks picked up the No. 4 seed with a 20-9 record on the year, while No. 5 Saint Rose stands at 21-8 overall.  Both squads are coming off Northeast-10 Tournament Semifinal losses to eventual-champion Adelphi and top-seeded Bentley, respectively.

UMass Lowell owns a 15-7 record all-time in the NCAA Tournament and is making its ninth trip in program history.  This is the third straight year the River Hawks have earned a spot in the Tournament and are looking to go deeper than years past, as they were knocked out of the first round in 2009 and 2010.

The River Hawks are 2-0 all-time against the Golden Knights in post-season play and own the 12-7 record overall in the teams’ series history.  UMass Lowell grabbed a 92-82 win in the squads’ lone meeting of the regular season, Jan. 22 in Lowell.

UMass Lowell’s offense, averaging 71.5 PPG is led by freshman point guard Akeem Williams (Brockton, Mass.) with 18.1 PPG, while sophomore Matt Welch (Lowell, Mass.) is also averaging in double-figures with 14.4 PPG.  Classmate Romeo Diaz (Methuen, Mass.) leads the team with 6.4 RPG, while junior Robbie Walton (South Boston, Mass.) leads the conference with 2.6 steals per game.

Saint Rose has won eight of its last nine and is averaging a conference-best 77.8 PPG.  The squad is led by Rob Gutierrez’s 18.3 PPG, while three other Golden Knights are averaging in double-figures.  Brian Hanuschak is averaging 11.1 PPG and a team-high 8.7 RPG.

The winner of Saturday’s battle will take on the winner of the tilt between No. 1 Bentley and No. 8 C.W. Post on Sunday at 8:30 p.m.  The regional final will take place on Tuesday evening at 8:30.

Admission for the second session of games, involving the No. 1 Bentley/No. 8 C.W. Post and No. 4 UMass Lowell/No. 5 Saint Rose tilts on Saturday evening will begin at 5 p.m. Tickets for the game are $8 for adults, while students, children and seniors will be admitted for $3.  Individual tickets are available at the door at the Dana Center but not available in advance and no ticket packages will be offered.

For those unable to attend, the game will be broadcast by the Pack Network and available across a variety of platforms, including computer, iPhone and iPad. Additionally, Bob Ellis will be calling play-by-play and Sean Hladick will be providing color commentary as the game will be available on River Hawk Radio and WUML 91.5 FM.

Directions, parking information, etc. can be found on Bentley’s Tournament Central Website.