Do you hear that? It’s the entire UMass fan base breathing a sigh of relief. After a herd of long threes from the North Carolina A&T Aggies and some horrible shooting by the Minutemen, UMass found themselves in a pickle against one of the worst teams in the country. Luckily, Donte Clark branded the Aggies with some killer threes and the Minutemen stampeded down the court for some fast break buckets to put NCA&T out to pasture for good.
Knee Jerk Reactions
- Pretty terrifying start to the game. This was the UMass team that the pundits predicted at the beginning of the season. You could feel the immaturity, especially in shot selection.
- The number one culprit was Luwane Pipkins. He’s too good in other parts of his game to take him off the court, but he has an awful habit of shooting a bad three early in the shot clock. Its clear that he has the skill to get into the paint, but maybe he just needs some time to build up that confidence
- The only one playing well in the first quarter of the game was C.J. Anderson. He missed a few easy layups, but other than that he was driving into the Aggies’ zone and not settling for threes like the rest of his teammates. Just look at his stat sheet (8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 9 points) and you can see what kind of an impact he had. My favorite stat though, 0-1 from three.
- Speaking of the zone defense, how has every team that comes to Mullins Center not figured this out yet? The way to beat a Derek Kellogg team is to play zone defense. He recruits players that like to play fast – they’re just not good at methodically beating a zone.
- Thanks to some timely steals and blocks – that led to run outs and fast break points – the Minutemen were able to avoid an embarrassing loss. But other opponents definitely saw what happened and if they’re smart they’ll play zone too.
- Donte Clark was the hero we needed him to be. It’s fitting that in a season where almost anybody has been the hero it was our veteran who showed up when it mattered most. He’s going to need to be the guy that has his best nights when the rest of the team is struggling.
- It’s a shame we didn’t see more out of Malik and Rashaan. On paper this looked like a game where they would do well.
- Seth looks like he may be hurt again. Four minutes on the floor in a game where DK needed every veteran he had isn’t normal. Hopefully I’m wrong!
UMBR Game Ball
This week’s game ball should be shared by Donte Clark and C.J. Anderson. They both were key players in rallying the team when they were looking defeated. 22 points and 6 assists by Donte is what we need to see more of from him.
UMBR Dunce Cap
Zach Lewis is the most frustrating player on the roster this year and his 1-7 three point mark is his most frustrating line of the season. Once again, not only does he take bad shots, but he does not contribute in any other way. When the shots aren’t falling good players make up for it on defense, or by rebounding, or by involving their teammates. Luwane is one of those players. Zach is not. He had zero rebounds, zero assists and one steal. Not gonna cut it buddy.
Up Next Kennesaw State
The Minutemen are back at the Mullins Center to continue the Gotham Classic against the Owls on Saturday at noon. The Owls are 3-7 and only 1-6 on the road. We saw this week that there’s no such thing as an easy win this season but hopefully DK can right the ship.
Fun Fact: Kennesaw State is coached by former Minuteman Al Skinner. You might have heard of him, his name is hanging in the Mullins Center!