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Raphiael Putney has strong effort in loss to George Washington

  • UMass sophomore center Cady Lalanne dunks on a steal by Trey Davis to put the Minutemen up 13-10 early in the first half of a 79-76 loss to George Washington on Saturday at the Mullins Center. At right is teammate Sampson Carter.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    UMass sophomore center Cady Lalanne dunks on a steal by Trey Davis to put the Minutemen up 13-10 early in the first half of a 79-76 loss to George Washington on Saturday at the Mullins Center. At right is teammate Sampson Carter.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass redshirt junior forward Raphiael Putney takes a step around Nemanja Mikic of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    UMass redshirt junior forward Raphiael Putney takes a step around Nemanja Mikic of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass sophomore center Cady Lalanne dunks on a steal by Trey Davis to put the Minutemen up 13-10 early in the first half of a 79-76 loss to George Washington on Saturday at the Mullins Center. At right is teammate Sampson Carter.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • UMass redshirt junior forward Raphiael Putney takes a step around Nemanja Mikic of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

AMHERST — If the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball team can pull a silver lining out of Saturday’s 79-76 to George Washington, it was the improved play of Raphiael Putney.

The junior forward, who has struggled to recapture the form that made him look like a future star last year, delivered his most complete effort of the season and helped key UMass’ late, albeit unsuccessful, comeback with 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.

“I wasn’t really worried about scoring. ... I just try to focus and do other things for the team, blocked shots, defensivewise rebound the basketball. I guess I rebounded it quite well today, but we took a loss,” Putney said. “I’m starting to take it one game at a time. I’m looking forward to the future. I’ve just got to take it one game at a time and just keep the intensity I had going today with the team.”

UMass coach Derek Kellogg was encouraged.

“He did some really good things out there. The eight rebounds I liked. I liked that he took the ball to the rim and got to the free-throw line a little bit. He seemed to play with some good energy,” Kellogg said. “I think he still can give us a little more, but I thought his energy was pretty good. He did some good things, especially in second half. He’s another guy a lot like Chaz (Williams). They need the pace of the game to be moving, and I think when it gets moving, that’s when he’s at his best.”

NO FATIGUE — Despite playing their second game in 72 hours, Williams wasn’t willing to use fatigue as an excuse.

“Once again, (strength and conditioning coach) Rich Hogans did a great job of getting us in shape and Coach pushes us in practice every day,” Williams said. “So as far as being tired, that’s not an excuse.”

NEXT UP — The Minutemen are off until Sunday when they host Richmond at 2 p.m. The Spiders (12-7, 2-2 Atlantic 10) beat Charlotte 81-61 at home Saturday to stop a two-game losing streak. Richmond hosts crosstown rival Virginia Commonwealth, Thursday at 7 p.m. before heading to Amherst.

MISCELLANEOUS — The crowd of 7,143 was the largest UMass has had for men’s basketball at the Mullins Center this season. ... Cady Lalanne scored in double figures for the third time in four games with 15 points, but his double figure rebounding streak of three games ended with seven boards. ... Freddie Riley (12 points) reached double figures for the third straight game and it marked the sixth time in the last eight games he’s scored at least 10 after not accomplishing the feat during the season’s first nine games.

Terrell Vinson started his 112th career game, tying him with Carl Smith at No. 5 in that category.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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