UMass Continues to Tailspin After Home Loss to George Mason

umass tailspinThe UMass Hockey team under Don “Toot” Cahoon used to suffer from a phenomenon called the “Cahoon Swoon” where no matter how well they played in the first half of the season they always fell apart come January and February.  In 2009 – 2010 they reached a high point of #9 in the college hockey polls before falling in the first round of the Hockey East Tournament with a .500 record.

I’m not saying that there is a Derek Kellogg swoon, but I am getting some bad flashbacks to that 2009-2010 hockey season. UMass is now 3-4 after starting the season 16-1

Knee Jerk Reactions:

  • George Mason just might be UMass’ kryptonite this season. After already playing them down to the wire, The Minutemen had plenty of time to figure out a winning game plan and address some of the things that went wrong in the first match up. Instead, the made literally every single mistake again.
  • UMass came out very slow and sloppy. When UMass comes out hot, they tend to win games. When they start sluggishly, winning depends on improbably late game heroics from Chaz.
  • I thought Jalen Jenkins was going to be the guy to hurt UMass in the paint, but instead it was Eric Copes. Right out of the second half, he beat Cady one on one in the low post three times in a row. What?! Copes had 12 points and 15 boards and totally dominated Cady.
  • Cady needs to get his swagger back. I know he ended up with a double double (11 pts, 10 boards) with 4 blocks, but most of the points came too little, too late. I think he can improve the most by speeding up his decision making. He takes so much time to gather the ball, settle his feet and then go up for a layup that he is not getting good shots off.
  • Free Throw shooting was poor again. They got to the line 30 times, but missed 11 of those shots. Missed free throws were especially costly down the stretch.
  • Rebounding was another problem that I think speaks mostly to the lack of energy. There was one play in particular where a George Mason shot bounced around the rim and not a single UMass player went up to rebound!
  • Trey Davis and Sampson Carter both played great games. Trey looked like a real leader and Sampson was doing the little things on offense and defense.
  • This may have been a trap game with UMass coming off of a tough, grind out rivalry game at URI while also looking ahead to this Saturday’s game against George Washington.
  • DG and Putney both looked out of whack on offense. Recently DG had been playing better, but he went right back to his old ways yesterday.
  • As for the NCAA implications of this game, it does not look good. I would tag this as one of those “bad losses” that the selection committee always takes note of. UMass is looking like it’s going to have another season on the bubble and their chances might come down to winning the Atlantic 10 tournament.
  • The most frustrating part about this loss is that now I have no idea which UMass team is going to show up for any given game. Will it be the high speed, alley-ooping, nationally ranked Minutemen or will it be the slow, bumbling, “Cahoon Swoon” Minutemen that we saw last night?

UMBR Game Ball: I am going to give the Game Ball to Trey Davis. He was the high scorer with 20 points and also had 6 assists. Off of the score sheet though, he was playing with energy and making smart plays, which the rest of the team was not.

UMBR Dunce Cap: The Dunce Cap goes to Derek Kellogg. It is hard to fault individual players for a performance like this. He obviously did not do enough to prepare The Minutemen for the game. Additionally, in the second half he gambled by pressing on defense, which instead of turnovers resulted in back to back quick threes by Mason. He also never went into any sort of zone defense, which proved effective last time these two teams met.

Next game is on Saturday at 2pm at George Washington. This will be a tough game as GW is one of the strongest teams in the Atlantic 10 this season.

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