UMass hit the road for a two-game jaunt south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and came out worse for the wear. Two losses against George Mason (86-81) and VCU (81-64), plus the A10 opener against Saint Bonaventure, put the Minutemen at 0-3 to start the conference season. We’ll try to wrap up all these feelings with one of the UMBR’s patented double blogs, a two-for-one special of knee jerks, game balls and dunce caps that only comes along when we get too lazy to write about every game.
UMass vs. George Mason: Knee Jerk Reactions
- Not sure how much can be said about this one. George Mason is a way better team this year than anyone here gave them credit for, and they flat out outplayed the Minutemen.
- Rashaan Holloway recorded his first double-double with a cool 17 points and 10 boards. This guy could absolutely average a double-double as his career progresses.
- Zach Lewis put up his best shooting game so far as a member of UMass. He didn’t hit anything from beyond the arc but stepped inside the line to score. He has a nice looking shot and should really take advantage of the full floor more often.
- In an interesting twist, UMass actually got out to a pretty good start in this one. Mason came roaring back though and was able to close it out in the second half with free throws.
- Speaking of free throws, the Minutemen only attempted 7 while Mason had 28. 28! Talk about some home cooking. That pure volume may have done UMass in.
- Really hard to fathom how GMU pulled out this close victory while only playing seven guys. UMass had 8 with significant minutes and a total of 11 players saw the floor. Tough loss to swallow.
UMass vs. George Mason: UMBR Game Ball
Holloway gets this one for his valiant effort in the loss. Would love to see him keep up this sort of pace, but how sustainable can it be?
UMass vs. George Mason: UMBR Dunce Cap
Unfortunately it’s going to Jarreau. This was a game where the young guy really needed to step up to help the team win. Those 4 turnovers may have been the difference.
UMass vs. VCU: Knee Jerk Reactions
- Where to begin? UMass certainly caught VCU by surprise in the first half and had a lead for a good portion. The team played tough for the first 20 minutes and through a good chunk of the second half too.
- When the Minutemen had their lead, Holloway was an absolute beast in the paint on the defensive end. Not only was he taking up space, blocking and forcing bad shots, the rest of the team took his cue and crowded the lane to box out VCUs bigs.
- This team is really, really bad at passing. Bounce, lob, chest, it doesn’t make a difference. These are fundamental skills that fundamental drills in practice can rectify. Is it sloppiness? Can we chalk it up to most of the guys being freshmen? I’m leaning towards no.
- Holloway was the only guy with any success on offense. CJ was the only other player with double digits but his came in garbage time. Someone needs to pick up the slack, the big man can’t do it all, both when he’s on the floor and on the bench.
- Zach Lewis played some defense. I swear, I saw it!
- It seems odd to say when you shoot 18 threes and only make 4 of them, but I feel like UMass didn’t rely on the deep ball in this game. Yes they shot atrociously, but the selections for the most part weren’t horrible desperation heaves or too-quick triggers.
- This loss is an important one for the young players on the team. The most hostile environment in the A10, at the end of a long road trip. It’s a learning experience, but we also need to see how they bounce back once they make it back to Amherst.
UMass vs. VCU: UMBR Game Ball
It’s Rashaan again! That’s back-to-back game balls for Holloway, with two consecutive double-doubles and two consecutive games of putting the team on his back. Let the big man eat!
UMass vs. VCU: UMBR Dunce Cap
This might be a surprise considering all the potential culprits, but tonight the dunce cap goes to Ty Flowers. He made almost no impact on the game whatsoever despite nearly 20 minutes of playing time.
Bonus: Slim Phil Rant
As a former referee I try to keep my mouth shut about officiating issues because I know how hard it is to control a game. But the thing I can’t stand above all else is inconsistency. UMass and VCU shot about the same number of free throws at about the same success rate. There was definitely a little home team favoritism on a few calls for the Rams, but that happens in every arena. That’s not what I’m ranting about. It’s the select application of the rules of the game to some players but not others. A foul is a foul, does not matter who commits it or who who the victim is. In this game, hacking the arm of a guard resulted in a foul, but hacking the arm of a big man did not (on both teams). If you’re going to let the boys play, let all the boys play, not just some of them. And this is compounded by the whistles that only blow after the referee sees the ball hasn’t gone in the basket. Once again, if it’s a foul, just call the damn foul, don’t wait two seconds to see if the shot drops or not. This is one of the things which pisses me off to no end about the NBA. The college game is different and should stay that way.