Opponent Previews: George Mason (3/8); Atlantic 10 Tournament Second Round

Opponent: George Mason Patriots
League: Atlantic 10 Conference

Record: 15-16 (9-9)

Notable Wins: Saint Louis (16-15), VCU (17-14)
Other Wins:
Lafayette, Binghamton, Cal State Northridge, James Madison, North Carolina Central, Morgan State, Saint Josephs (2), George Washington, UMass (2), Dayton, Richmond,

Notable Losses: George Washington (14-17), La Salle (13-19), Fordham (9-21), Richmond (11-19)
Other Losses:
Louisville, Rhode Island, Auburn, Penn State, Duquesne, VCU, St. Bonaventure, Davidson Louisiana Tech, Fresno State, William and Mary, Georgia Southern,

Previous Matchups:
1/3: 80-72 OT: George Mason
Otis Livingston – 33 points, 9 assists
Luwane Pipkins – 15 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists

2/24: 78-76 OT: George Mason
Otis Livingston – 22 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists
C.J Anderson – 21 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists

Team Stats:                             UMass                            George Mason         Conference Rank
Points Per Game                    71.9 (Tied-232nd)        72.3 (223rd               10th vs 9th
Rebounds Per Game             32.8 (306th)                   36.7 (102nd)             11th vs 2nd
Assists Per Game                   15.6 (56th)                     11.7 (Tied-310th)     3rd vs 14th
Points Allowed                       74.8 (240th)                   75.9 (268th)

Starting 5:
Otis Livingston II: #4 Guard, 5’11, 170 lbs
17.5 PPG    3.4 RPG    4.5 APG   1.0 SPG    .446 FG%    .403 3P%

Jaire Grayer:  #5 Guard, 6’5, 200 lbs
12.6 PPG    7.1 RPG    1.3 APG    1.3 SPG    .8 BPG    .412 FG%      .365 3P%

Goanar Mar: #0 Forward, 6’7, 195 lbs
10.8 PPG   4.5 RPG   .9 APG    .6 SPG    .436 FG%    .371 3P%

Justin Kier: #1 Guard, 6’4, 183 lbs
11.2 PPG   4.5 RPG   2.3 APG    1.3 SPG    .465 FG%

Ian Boyd: #32 Guard, 6’4, 215 lbs
8.1 PPG    4.5 RPG    1.3 APG   .6 SPG    .405 FG%

Prediction:
75-71 UMass

Keys to the Game

1. Forcing the ball out of Livingston’s hands (primary ball handler and leading scorer)
2. Boxing out against one of the better rebounding teams in the conference.
3. Consistency for 40-45 Minutes. Especially in close game situations.
4. Riding the experienced Senior, C.J. Anderson 
5. Survive and Advance

 

 

Opponent Previews: La Salle (3/7); Atlantic 10 Tournament First Round

Opponent: La Salle Explorers
League: Atlantic 10 Conference

Record: 13-18 (7-11)

Notable Wins: Saint Louis (16-15), Temple (16-14), Pennsylvania (22-8), Saint Josephs (15-15)
Other Wins: George Mason, Dayton, UMass, Fordham (2), Holy Cross, Mercer, South Alabama, Saint Peters

Notable Losses: Drexel (13-20), Richmond (11-19), George Washington (14-17),
Other Losses: Villanova, Miami, URI (2), St. Bonaventure, Boston College, Davidson, VCU, Saint Louis, Saint Josephs, Northwestern, Duquesne, UMass, Towson, Bucknell

Previous Matchups: 
1/10: 86-79 UMass
1/24: 87-72 La Salle

Team Stats:                         UMass                               La Salle:                        Conference Rank
Points Per Game               71.9 (Tied-231st)              73.1 (200th)                    10th vs 6th
Rebounds Per Game        32.8 (308th)                       35.3 (Tied-179th)          11th vs 7th
Assists Per Game              15.6 (58th)                          13.0 (Tied-222nd)         3rd vs 11th  
Points Allowed                  74.8 (237th)                        73.9 (219th)

Starting 5:

B.J. Johnson: #20 Guard, 6’7, 200 lbs
20.9 PPG    8.5 RPG    .8 APG    1.3 SPG    .7 BPG    .567 FG%    .362 3P%

Pookie Powell: #0 Guard, 6’0, 180 lbs
16.9 PPG    4.2 RPG    4.3 APG    .8 SPG    .405 FG%    .347 3P%

Isiah Deas: #10 Guard, 6’6, 185 lbs
9.5 PPG    4.4 RPG    1.4 APG    1.0 SPG    .3 BPG    .291 3P%

Amar Stukes: #2 Guard, 6’2, 190 lbs
8.6 PPG    2.5 RPG    3.2 APG    1.1 SPG    .434 3P%

Tony Washington: #5 Center, 6’10, 230 lb
7.3 PPG    6.1 RPG    .6 APG    .3 SPG    .6 BPG    .627 FG%

Key Role Player:

Saul Phiri: #13 Guard, 6’4, 210 lbs
5.2 PPG    4.8 RPG    1.5 APG    1.1 SPG    .4 BPG

Prediction:
76-70 UMass

Keys to the Game:

1. Limiting the A-10’s leading scorer, B.J. Johnson to under twenty points
2. Pressure La Salle into isolation possessions and forced shots
3. Avoid scoring droughts and conceding big runs
4. Ray Miller and Unique Mclean outplaying  Isaiah Deas and Amar Stukes
5. Malik Hines outrebounding Tony Washington
6. Luwane Pipkins’ and Carl Pierre’s three point shooting

 

Game Summaries: Richmond (2/28)

Opponent: Richmond Spiders
League: Atlantic 10 Conference 

Summary:

The Minutemen traveled to Virginia in their final road game of the regular season to face their last place counterparts, the Richmond Spiders. The Spiders quickly jumped put to a  10-0 lead led by Grant Golden before C.J. Anderson steadied the tide with three pointers for UMass. The personal 9-2 run for Anderson put the Minutemen within striking distance (12-9). In his return back from concussion protocol, Luwane Pipkins (14 points, 5-17 FG) began to find his shot, nailing two additional threes. In fact, Pipkins and Anderson were the only players to put points on the board for the Minutemen in the first nine minutes and these five three pointers (5) made up all of the scoring. Shortly after, Malik Hines (8 points) broke this trend with a layup at the 10:27 mark to tie the game at nineteen. Anderson remained on fire for the majority of the half to keep UMass afloat. The dynamic senior leader had his most complete offensive half of the season, hitting mid range jumpers and attacking the basket to the tune of 18 points on 7/8 shooting for the period. Nonetheless, Golden poured in sixteen points of his own and Richmond scraped together a 9-2 run in the final four minutes to regain momentum and head into the locker room with a 40-32 lead

The second half was a complete and utter meltdown for the Minutemen as they really struggled on the defensive end of the floor. A minute into the period, Nick Sherod (19 points, 7 rebounds) nailed a jumper to stretch the Spiders advantage back to double digits, where it would remain for the rest of the game. The UMass offense went stagnant as well, even Anderson and Pipkins failing to find their shot. With just over seventeen minutes remaining, the Spiders reeled off an impressive 10-0 run for the second time on the evening to push the lead to twenty and kill any momentum for Mass. Richmond didn’t do anything too special on the offensive end, but they were extremely efficient and received valuable contributions from complimentary scorers De’Monte Buckingham (13 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) and Jacob Gilyard (13 Points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals). In all, they assisted on twenty seven field goals and took tremendous care of the basketball, limiting themselves to just six turnovers. The Spiders even received extremely rare bench contributions, as Nathan Cayo delivered a valuable spark with eight points. For UMass, Carl Pierre (11 points, 3-13 FG) who struggled mightily in the first, began to heat up, but the deficit was far too great to overcome. The Richmond lead would stretch to as much as twenty nine before concluding with a final score of 90-65.

Analysis:

The loss marks the sixth a row as the Minutemen continue to sputter down the stretch and in the second half of this season as a whole. As expected, the length of the strenuous A-10 season has clearly gotten the better of a young and inexperienced squad. In this one, it was evident that the Spiders had a super talent advantage and they proved that they are far better than their bottom dwelling record suggests. A very young team in their own right, Richmond should be very good for many years to come. The main difference tonight was highlighted in a number of key matchups. At the forward position Golden dominated Hines as he led all scorers with twenty-six points and out rebounded the Umass big 11-2. As mentioned early, the complimentary guards of Buckingham and Gilyard established their aggression and playmaking abilities outscoring Ray Miller and Unique McLean (26-4) while distributing effectively a much higher rate (12 assists vs 2).  The Minutemen were led by C.J Anderson who recorded his fourth twenty point game of the season and third in the last five games. The Senior is finally finding his scoring touch late in the season which is fantastic to see. Backup Quarterback Randall West led the team with six rebounds.

Team Stats:                                               UMass                                      Richmond
Field Goals:                                               23-55  (41.8%)                         36-63 (57.1%)
3 Point Field Goals:                                 9-23  (39.1%)                           8-18 (44.4%)
Free Throws:                                            10-13 (76.9%)                          10-11 (90.9%)
Rebounds:                                                  31 (9)                                        32 (6)
Assists:                                                        10                                              27
Turnovers:                                                 15                                              6

Final Score:
90-65 Richmond

Record:
11-19 (4-13)

Next Game:
– Regular season finale versus the Duquesne Dukes on Saturday, March 3rd at the Mullins Center

Opponent Previews: George Mason

Opponent: George Mason Patriots
League: Atlantic 10 Conference

Record: 13-15 (7-8)

Notable Wins: Saint Louis (15-13)
Other Wins:
Lafayette, Binghamton, Cal State Northridge, James Madison, North Carolina Central, Morgan State, Saint Josephs (2), George Washington, UMass, Dayton, Richmond,

Notable Losses: George Washington (13-15), La Salle (11-17), Fordham (9-18)
Other Losses:
Louisville, Rhode Island, Auburn, Penn State, Duquesne, VCU, St. Bonaventure, Davidson Louisiana Tech, Fresno State, William and Mary, Georgia Southern,

Previous Matchup:
80-72 OT: George Mason
Otis Livingston – 33 points, 9 assists
Luwane Pipkins – 15 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists

Team Stats:                               UMass                          George Mason        Conference Rank
Points Per Game                    71.6 (Tied-243rd)         71.6 (Tied-243rd)      9th vs 9th
Rebounds Per Game             33.0 (306th)                  36.7 (105th)                4th vs 10th
Assists Per Game                   15.5 (63rd)                    11.6 (Tied-308th)       3rd vs 14th
Points Allowed                       74.1 (226th)                  75.2 (252nd)

 Starting 5:
Otis Livingston II: #4 Guard, 5’11, 170 lbs
16.9 PPG    3.4 RPG    4.5 APG   1.0 SPG

Jaire Grayer:  #5 Guard, 6’5, 200 lbs
12.7 PPG    7.3 RPG    1.4 APG    1.4 SPG    .9 BPG    .401 3P%

Goanar Mar: #0 Forward, 6’7, 195 lbs
10.2 PPG   4.4 RPG   .9 APG    .6 SPG

Justin Kier: #1 Guard, 6’4, 183 lbs
11.6 PPG   4.6 RPG   2.3 APG    1.3 SPG

Ian Boyd: #32 Guard, 6’4, 215 lbs
8.2 PPG    4.4 RPG    1.2 APG   .6 SPG

Prediction:
75-71 UMass

Keys to the Game

1. Forcing the ball out of Livingston’s hands (primary ball handler and leading scorer)
2. Boxing out against one of the better rebounding teams in the conference.
3. Physicality and Intensity on the road.

 

Game Summaries: Dayton (2/3)

 

Opponent: Dayton Flyers
League: Atlantic 10 Conference

Summary:

The ball quickly bounced into the backcourt, a brutal deflection off the Dayton defender put Luwanne Pipkins in a awkward situation. He collected the ball with two seconds remaining on the shot clock, took two dribbles, and threw up a running prayer.

The first eight minutes of the game were extremely even with neither team able to set the tone leaidng Umass to emerge with a one point lead (16-15) led by Malik Hines (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Pipkins. Speaking of Luwane, him and Carl Pierre caught fire early and helped the Minutemen create some separation with back to back three pointers to stretch the lead to nine (24-15). In fact, the Minutemen hit eight threes in the first half with five of their last six makes from behind the line. UMass’ largest lead in first half was 32-21, but Dayton responded with a small run to close close half. Carl Pierre responded with another three pointer with just under a minute remaining in the first to return the lead back to nine, but Josh Cunningham (27 points, 11 rebounds) brought it back to seven with a layup. The Minutemen went into the locker room with a 35-28 lead.

Carl Pierre (15 Points, 4-8 3P FG) got the scoring going in the second with a three pointer on first possession of the half to stretch lead back to double digits. Just before the first media timeout, C.J. Anderson nailed a three pointer to keep the lead at ten (49-39). Anderson followed up his great game against URI with a similar confidence on the offensive end, pouring in seventeen points along with seven rebounds and assists. The Minutemen looked poised to hold the advantage, but in the blink of an eye, Dayton capped a 10-0 run over a three minute span to tie the game. Then, with 11:26 left in the contest, the Flyers took the lead for the first time since it was 8-7 on a Jalen Crutcher (15 points) layup. The teams went back and forth and UMass eventually regained the lead (66-64) with just under four minutes left in the contest. A few possessions later, C.J Anderson converted a tough and one to put the Minutemen back up two, but the team did not sprint back on defense and Josh Cunningham made them pay with a quick dunk on the other end. With the game tied, UMass came up huge on the defensive end  but Luwane Pipkins slowly brought the ball up and was called for a ten second violation, a lazy turnover that looked to be costly. Fortunately Crutcher’s game winning attempt fell short and the game was headed to overtime

The Minutemen controlled the first overtime period, but failed to extend the lead past four, leaving the door open for the resilient Flyers. With forty seconds remaining in a tied game yet again, Unique McLean soared for a beautifully drawn up in inbounds alley-oop and slammed it down powerfully with two hands. Now, All the Minutemen needed was a defensive stop but Josh Cunningham drew a foul and calmly knocked down the two free throws to tie the game at 77. This time, it was the Minutemen with the final possession, but Pipkins’ isolation step-back three pointer at the buzzer was far long.

Yet again, the Minutemen jumped ahead by four in the second period of extra time on a strong driving lefty layup by Ray Miller. Still, Dayton fought back to tie it. With just under a minute remaining, Pipkins controlled the ball at the top of the key when it was kicked by the defensive player. Luwane retrieved the rock, took two dribbles in hope of evading his trailing defender and let a forty foot heave go as the shot clock expired. The line drive shot bounced off the back board and through the net as the Mullins Center exploded in shock. The play was reviewed extensively but the call stood and the Minutemen were up three. After a key miss at the free throw line by Cunningham, Unique McLean, who was massive on the glass once again (11 rebounds), iced the contest with a twelve foot jumper to secure the victory.

Takeaways:

The five game losing Streak is over and the brooms are out as UMass swept the season series with Dayton in the win. Both teams relied on their starters heavily with very little bench production and UMass did a great job in avoiding fouling out in the overtime’s. As stated earlier, the three point shot was a huge weapon for the Minutemen tonight and was the difference in what was a relatively even game. Ball movement for UMass was great again and they did a solid job avoiding costly turnovers. For the Flyers, Trey Landers delivered a surprise performance with 22 Points (11-14) and 9rebounds. Hines was great once again and Pipkins (28 points and 8 Assists) delivered when he needed to, despite a bit of luck on his part.

Final Score: 86-82
Record: 11-13 (4-7)

Highlights:

Team Stats:                                UMass                            Dayton
Field Goals:                                33-71                              32-66
3 Point Field Goals:                  12-26                              5-22
Free throws:                               8-11                                13-22
Rebounds:                                   35 (9)                              39 (12)
Assists:                                         27                                    22
Turnovers                                   10                                    11

11

Opponent Previews: Rhode Island (1/30)

Opponent: #24 Rhode Island Rams
League: Atlantic 10 Conference

Record: 17-3 (9-0)

Notable Wins: Seton Hall (16-5), St. Bonaventure (14-6), Providence (14-7), Duquesne (14-8),
Other Wins: La Salle, George Washington, St. Louis, UMass, Dayton, George Mason College of Charleston, FGCU, UNC Asheville, Brown, Holy Cross, Iona

Notable Losses: None
Other Losses: Virginia (20-1), Nevada (18-3), Alabama (11-6)

Team Stats:                         UMass                             URI
Points Per Game       
        69.7 (277th)                     76.7 (Tied-107th))
Rebounds Per Game        34.0 (258th)                    34.0 (Tied-259th)
Assists Per Game              15.0 (Tied-97th)              14.9  (Tied-101st)
Points Allowed                  71.6  (162nd)                    65.8 (38th)

Starting 5:

Jared Terell:  #32 Guard, 6’3 215 lbs
17.9 PPG    3.4 RPG    2.5 APG    1.8 SPG    .416 3P%

E.C Matthews: #0 Guard, 6’5, 200 lbs
14.0 PPG    4.3 RPG    .7 APG    .8 SPG    .5 BPG    .321 3P%

Andre Berry: #34 Forward, 6’8, 275 lbs
9.8 PPG    4.1 RPG    .5 APG    .5 BPG    .609 FG%

Stanford Robinson: #13 Guard, 6’4, 200 lbs
10.2 PPG    5.6 RPG    1.6 APG    2.4 SPG    .6 BPG    .364 3P%

Jeff Dowtin: #11 Guard, 6’3, 170 lbs
8.7 PPG    2.9 RPG    5.4 APG    .9 SPG    .6 BPG

Key Role Player: 

Jarvis Garett: #1 Guard, 6’0, 175 lbs
6.3 PPG    2.5 RPG    2.3 APG    1.0 SPG    .39 3P%

Prediction:

As the Minutemen continue to struggle and remain cold, the Rams travel to Amherst as one of the hottest teams in the country, undefeated in conference play and winners of twelve straight. After a relatively slow start to the year, Rhode Island is hitting their stride at a good time, working their back into national rankings and the conversation as the best mid major team in the country. Jared Terrell continues to look like a first team all-conference performer and although E.C Matthews numbers are down, he is still as deadly as ever. In the previous matchup, Stanford Robinson was the X factor, recording seventeen points and twelve rebounds while impacting the game in far more ways that do not just show up on the stat sheet. His emergence has been one of the prominent reasons for the Rams success as he is finally proving himself after a slightly disappointing first three years. The odds are certainly not in the Minutemen’s favor and it will be an all hands on deck effort to just keep the contest close in the first half. UMass must focus on limitng turnovers (19 in last matchup) and hit the offensive glass hard, which they did well with the last time these teams met.

Game Summaries: La Salle (1/24)

Opponent: La Salle Explorers
League: Atlantic 10 Conference

Summary:

Similar to the first matchup, La Salle was without one of their best players. This time, Pookie Powell, who led the Explorers with thirty points in the previous meeting was sidelined with an injury.

The Minutemen started off strong and grabbed a 7-4 lead just three minutes in after a Carl Pierre fast break layup. La Salle responded quickly, paced by Amar Stukes who scored seven of their team’s first nine points as they regained the advantage (9-7). With just under thirteen minutes remaining B.J Johnson nailed a pull up jumper to cap a 15-4 run and give the Explorers a 19-11 lead. Matt McCall went to the bench and got great production from Rays Miller who nailed an array of mid range jump shots and finally looked comfortable on the offensive end for the first time in a while. After the last Miller jumper, UMass found themselves down just five (30-25), but then seemed to lose all rhythm. Stukes, who paced the Explorers with thirteen pointers, was a menace penetrating the lane and distributing as he hit Tony Washington for a two handed dunk stretching the lead back to double digits (35-25). At this point, things really began to spiral out of control as B.J Johnson (15 points) and Isaiah Deas catalyzed a 17-2 run to end the half and go into the break with a 47-27 lead.

The second half was more of the same as the Minutemen continued to struggle from the field and failed to reduce the lead under twenty points until finally finding some flow about halfway through the second. The closest the minutemen would get would be eighteen (70-52) thanks to a much better second half from Luwane Pipkins who finished with twenty-five points. The largest advantage for the Explorers was thirty (68-38) and the game finally concluded with a final score of 87-72. The Minutemen got solid performances from Ray Miller who scored a season high in conference play of nine points as well Malik Hines who had eleven points and seven rebounds. Pipkins was eventually able to get it going but him and Pierre still struggled thanks to a very stingy inverse triangle and two zone defense. On the other hand, La Salle was paced by an extremely equal scoring output as Stukes recorded twenty-two, and Deas as well as Tony Washington added ten apiece B.J Johnson led La Salle with twenty six points and showed why he is an NBA caliber talent through his scoring arsenal of mid range jumpers over contesting defenders and aggressive drives.

Overall, the talent difference was very evident and is starting to become a major issue for UMass at the point in the season. They exceeded expectations early, but now the harsh reality is setting in. The next contest is Saturday, January 27th, at the Fordham Rams

Final Score: 87-72
Record: 10-11 (3-5)

Team Stats:                             UMass                         La Salle
Field Goals:                              25-52 (48.1%)             33-60 (55.0%)
3 Point Field Goals:                10-23 (43.5%)             7-20 (35.0%)
Free Throws:                           12-20 (60.0%)             14-20 (70%)
Rebounds:                                23 (6)                           35 (8)
Assists:                                      12                                 17
Turnovers:                               14                                 8