In typical UMass fashion, the Minutemen let a late lead slip away against the Crimson on Saturday in Amherst. Fortunately, due to some heroics by Donte Clark and a few lucky bounces, they were able to hold on for the 70-66 victory.
Knee Jerk Reactions:
- We were expecting a drop off in play with Deeky sidelined by a stress fracture and some of our worst fears were realized. It was a sloppy game with no clear leadership on the court.
- This lack of leadership was apparent in the final minutes as turnovers, missed free throws, and poor defensive rotation allowed Harvard to come back from a 6 point deficit with under a minute to play. However, squeaking out the win was a great sign that this team can fight through mental mistakes and play to the final buzzer.
- Donte Clark had a hell of an outing and pretty much won the game in the second half. 29 points and 5 rebounds including a near perfect 13-14 from the free throw line. Having said that, Clark is such a frustrating player to watch because he makes a bad decision but then bails himself out with an incredibly athletic play.
- Example: In the second half Donte had the ball with 5 seconds on the shot clock on the baseline and held the ball in the corner until his only option was to throw up a prayer of a three pointer…which of course went in. A horrible, frustrating play but it’s hard to be mad when it counts for 3!
- Tough shooting nights for both Zach Zewis and Luwane Pi(m)pkins. The pair combined to go 8-23 from the floor, including 0-10 from three. That’s a scary line for two guys who are known for their shooting.
- Forgettable night from Seth after a Game Ball winning performance against Holy Cross. 0-2 from the floor and 0-2 from the charity stripe.
- Two pretty nice showings from Malik Hines and Ty Flowers. Hines played 21 minutes and actually looked sharp on defense even coming up with two steals. Ty had a productive 5 minutes of playing time; one rebound, one assist, and one 3 pointer! Would love to see some more progress from these two as the season goes on.
- It’s clear that rebounding is going to be an issue for this team as Kellogg likes to play a 3-guard lineup. The entire team but especially the 3’s and 4’s (Coleman, Berger, Flowers, etc.) need to be way more aggressive on the glass especially when the outside shooting goes cold.
UMBR Game Ball
The game ball obviously goes to Donte Clark for putting the team on his back! When his teammates went cold in the second half, Clark stepped up and hit some huge shots, including 3 crucial free throws in the last 30 seconds.
UMBR Dunce Cap
Dunce cap goes to Zach Lewis. Lewis cracked the starting lineup and had a great opportunity to prove himself but instead went 0-4 from three and looked downright lackadaisical on defense. If the shots aren’t falling, that’s fine, but anything less than 100% on defense is a dunce cap worthy offense.
Next Victim: Wagner
The Minutemen’s football punching bag, Wagner, returns to Amherst on Wednesday night. The Seahawks are 2-3 with an upset win against then #18 UConn in their first game but also have suffered recent losses to UMass Lowell and Rider. The Seahawks have 5 players who are averaging over 10 points per game, so needless to say this team can get hot and play with the best. The Minutemen should come prepared for a close fought match.
Fun Fact: Wagner is a liberal arts school on Staten Island and at 2,200 enrolled students is the 7th smallest college in the nation to participate in Division 1 athletics.