It’s been an excruciating week for UMass fans. The Minutemen began it all last Saturday with a much-needed 87-76 victory over St. Joe’s, which had everyone thinking that maybe the team was starting to find its stride. Then out of nowhere, UMass laid a giant egg in a 96-66 loss at Duquesne, the 30 point deficit being their worst of the season. And just now, Davidson squeaked out a 79-74 win in a game where the Minutemen had ample opportunity to take control but could never quite get the job done. Flashes of brilliance, boneheadedness, and coming up a few plays short: it’s been a metaphor for the entire year.
UMass vs. St. Joseph’s
This is what happens when UMass is firing on all cylinders. Solid game from the big man Holloway who nearly had a double-double. Deeky showed why he’s UMass’ most highly regarded recruit by feeding his teammates, chipping in a few buckets, and keeping the turnovers to a minimum with just one. 4 players with double-digit points, led by Donte Clark who controlled the game but wasn’t selfish. Acceptable if not spectacular three-point shooting (35%), but very good from the free throw line (81%). UMass has St. Joe’s number this season. Let’s hope we meet in the first game of the A10 Tournament, we may actually be able to get a win.
UMass vs. Duquesne
This is what happens when your freshman team gets a little cocky and your opponent defends his home court with a gusto not seen since the Alamo. The Dukes shot over 50% from 3-point land and exactly 50% from the field in general. The Minutemen couldn’t buy a shot or a rebound to save their lives. Duquesne built up a big first-half lead and UMass became demoralized. Even silky-smooth-shooting walk-on Rayshawn Miller couldn’t find the bottom of the bucket despite 7 minutes of playing time.
UMass vs. Davidson
Whereas this week epitomizes UMass’ season, let’s focus on Seth Berger as epitomizing this particular game. Seth got the start today and was a big contributor, racking up the most minutes he’s seen in quite some time. We saw some good movement off the ball, Seth cutting into the lane for easy layups. Then we saw truly cringe-worthy passes to stationary teammates. Twice in this game, Seth nailed an open corner 3 to put UMass on a little bit of a run. Of course, he followed that up by, on his next offensive possession, tossing up an air ball from downtown. And on the defensive side of the ball, some great one-on-one man looks just inside the perimeter. But in the second half especially, blown assignments which led to easy buckets in the paint for the Wildcats.
UMass has a bit of a break here before heading to our nation’s capital to take on George Washington on Thursday. Keep an eye on GW forward Tyler Cavanaugh, who has been averaging 17 points per game.
Fun Fact: GW’s campus is located in the Foggy Bottom section of the District of Columbia. Rumor has it that, in the DC area, the term “Foggy Bottom” has taken over from “Swamp Ass” as the preferred descriptor of a sweaty undergarment backside.