After an up-and-mostly-down non-conference season, UMass started off the Atlantic 10 portion of the season with 74-67 win at La Salle. In the A10, it is always difficult to grab a win on the road, so props to the Minutemen for handling the Explorers yesterday. La Salle is definitely in the midst of a down season, but they still feature one of the best scorers in the country in Jordan Price.
Knee Jerk Reactions
- Congratulations is in order for Trey Davis. With his 18 points last night, Trey passed 1,000 points in his career as a Minuteman. This is a huge accomplishment and a testament to his hard work, resilience, and desire to make himself a better player. Throughout his career we have seen Trey transform from a timid freshman who was reluctant to shoot the ball to a shoot-first, team-leading point guard. If this team is going to make waves in the A10 this season, it will most likely be on the back of Trey Davis.
- Another shout out is due for Seth Berger. He scored a career high 15 points and was a menace on the boards and on defense. He created a huge mismatch problem for the Explorers and used it to his advantage. At least half of his points came from receiving the ball in the soft spot of the zone at the high post and immediately driving strong to the basket. He would either score the bucket, get fouled or draw a double team and dish to a teammate on the perimeter. It was text book zone offense.
- In addition to scoring, Seth was his usual self; grabbing contested rebounds, diving on the floor for loose balls and harrying ball carriers on defense.
- Antwan Space finally looks comfortable on the floor. He was one rebound away from a double-double, hit a three pointer, and was able to keep up in an incredibly fast paced game. Obviously he is not ready to play full time minutes, but when he was in the game he was a difference maker.
- When Antwan needed a breather, T-Berg was there to pick up the slack (on defense at least). Tyler will never be a true offensive threat and he knows that, but he makes up for it on defense. He made some great defensive plays, especially when the La Salle guards got into the paint.
- Its a good thing Antwan and Tyler played well because both Rashaan and Malik had down games. Rashaan was having trouble keeping up with the pace of the game. With La Salle’s lack of big men, Seth, Antwan and T-Berg were able to play extended minutes. I feel bad for Malik because when he entered the game he ended up on Jordan Price. The experience mismatch was too much and Malik struggled to keep up with him and almost immediately fouled.
- Donte Clark didn’t shoot the ball very well, but he still managed to have a good game. One of my biggest criticisms of Donte is that he neglects the intangible parts of the game in favor of pure offense. Yesterday, maybe because he shot was off, he did the little things a lot better. He played great defense, was active on the boards and even had an amazing chase down block.
- The announcers referred to either T-Berg or Seth as “Tyler Berger” at least twice. I think what they really meant to say was “the current white guy in the game.”
- How many times do I have to hear announcers mention Coach Giannini’s Ph.D.? Every time La Salle plays we have to listen to them ooh and ahh about his degrees. We get it, he’s smart.
UMBR Game Ball
It’s not every game that somebody scores their 1,000th career point! Obviously the game ball goes to Trey Davis. In addition to his milestone, Trey did a great job getting attacking the paint instead of relying on his outside shot. He only took 4 three pointers but still managed to score 18 points. The team plays better when Trey takes fewer threes.
Honorable mention to Seth Berger. He scored a career high 15 points and also grabbed 7 rebounds. His playing style is not fancy; he won’t break any ankles or have a highlight reel dunk, but he tore apart La Salle’s zone by playing smart and understanding his size and speed advantages.
UMBR Dunce Cap
Today’s dunce cap goes to Jabarie Hinds. He didn’t have a bad game, but considering how high the bar has been set he definitely underachieved. The biggest criticisms I have with his performance last night is that one, he fouled out, and two, he didn’t attempt a single free throw. Against a team like La Salle, which has a short bench and limited front court players, Jabarie should have been tearing up the paint (similar to the way Trey Davis did). Luckily Trey and Donte were able to score in the paint, but Jabarie needs to be more aggressive.
Looking ahead to Dayton
On Wednesday, UMass will head to #25 Dayton for an 8pm game. Dayton has some of the best fans in the country and they rarely lose on their home court. The matchup to watch will be Antwan Space vs. Dyshawn Pierre of Dayton. Both seniors missed the first part of the season (although Antwan’s absence was a lot less “rapey”) and are finally getting back into form. It won’t be easy, but knocking off Dayton at home is the kind of win that coaches and fans dream about.
Fun Fact: Dayton had a 26 game home winning streak that stretched back to January 2014 until it was broken in a two point loss to Chattanooga this season.