AMHERST, Mass. -- Pittsfield's defense gave it a double-digit third quarter lead on Sunday.
Chicopee's defense made up that gap, and then some.
The Pacers used their full-court press to get back in the game and hand the Generals a 64-60 loss in the Pioneeer Valley Tip-off at UMass Amherst's Curry Hicks Cage.
PHS led by 12, 42-30, midway through the third quarter, but Chicopee battled back to tie it midway through fourth and closed on a 7-2 run in he last minute -- a span that saw Pittsfield commit five turnovers, twice against the press.
"It's our first game, we've had no scrimmages," Pittsfield coach Steve Ray said. "Not that I'm making excuses, but they didn't handle it well - didn't handle those last few minutes, certainly.
"We made a lot of mental mistakes throughout the game that came back to haunt us. But the most is they just didn't have very much poise under pressure there in the last few minutes."
Chicopee sophomore Milan Harrison scored 24 points, and Chevon Cote scored 11 with 11 rebounds.
Harrison scored eight points in a 13-7 Chicopee run to end the third quarter and leave the Pacers down, 49-43, going to the last eight minutes.
Chicopee opened the fourth quarter with a 7-1 spurt that ended when Jake Midura hit a jumper from the left wing to make it 50-50, the first tie since 0-0.
Pittsfield recovered and built its lead back to four, 56-52, when Joshua Moore (10 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) scored in the post with 3:50 on the clock.
But the Generals hit just one more field goal the rest of the way and were outscored 12-4 down the stretch.
In the first half, it was Chicopee that struggled to score as the Generals took a 32-23 lead into the locker room.
The difference was Pittsfield's zone defense, which led to seven first-half steals, two by senior guard Anthony Reinhold.
"We thought when we switched to a zone, it took down the passing lanes, and we were able to close off the middle because they were getting into the middle a lot," Ray said. "It started to break down at the end of the game, but we really felt that helped us contain them a litle bit because they've got some pretty good guards there and some pretty good inside size."
Louis Higuera scored a team-high 12 points, and Connor McDonough had nine for the Generals (0-1), who host Holyoke on Tuesday.
Ray said the errors that cost Pittsfield in the opener are the kinds of things the team can address.
"Overall, the miscalculations we had out there, I'm pretty good with, because I think they're all fixable," he said. "I think, athletically, we match up with anybody. I think we can get up and down the court with our speed as well as anybody. I think the game situations like that are all correctable.