Matt Vautour: Observations following UMass’ 120-71 exhibition win over AIC



Last modified: Tuesday, November 04, 2014

AMHERST

On one hand, UMass’ 120-71 exhibition win over American International came against a Division II team that finished 9-19 last year, so it’s hard to put much stock in the dominating performance.

On the other hand, the Minutemen have had some anxious moments in games like these against teams of similar ilk. Last year, UMass coach Derek Kellogg had to re-insert his starters against AIC when the game got too close. Thursday’s game was never in doubt.

There was plenty of curiosity going into the game with many new players and returning players in new roles. The crowd got more than they paid for from the admission-free game.

Some observations:

∎ UMass looked good shooting free throws. They made 27 of 34. Junior Jabarie Hinds, who looks like he could get to the line on a regular basis, made 6 of 8 with a fluid stroke, while freshmen Zach Coleman (3 for 3), Donte Clark (2 for 2) and C.J. Anderson (3 for 4) all looked reliable.

■ Anderson is the third point guard. He filled the role with Trey Davis and Hinds on the bench. He actually led the Minutemen with eight assists to go with eight points and six rebounds. Kellogg liked his approach.

“We’re up 40, 50 points and he’s still playing like we’re down 20. He’s out there hawking the ball, he’s trying to dive for loose balls, he’s out there pressuring full court by himself,” Kellogg said. “I think he’s got a good mentality for how the game is supposed to be played. And then a bonus, he made a 3 or two, several rebounds, eight assists, eight points, that’s kind of stuffing the stat sheet for a freshman who we’re trying to figure out position and stuff like that for him.”

■ Clark and Demetrius Dyson led UMass in scoring with 17 points apiece. Kellogg was encouraged to see Dyson make 3-of-5 3-pointers.

“I’ve been counting on him and waiting for him. I kept saying to myself that it was going to happen at some point. He stayed on it in practice. Last week, we did a ton of shooting in practice and he didn’t miss,” Kellogg said. “It was nice to see him break out of his practice slump where he hasn’t shot the ball quite like I know he can. It was nice to see him make shots because we need a couple shot-makers on this team.”

■ Hinds is as quick as advertised. The West Virginia transfer was easily the fastest player on the floor. All of his 10 points were the result of driving to the basket as he scored on layups or free throws. He had seven assists and two turnovers.

“I felt good, I just didn’t want to rush anything. I just wanted to push the ball, get easy buckets for my teammates and try to make layups and play good defense,” he said. “When I get in the game I just want to change the tempo a little bit, push the ball more. Just trying to get easy shot for my teammates and also play good defense.”

■ Coleman showed off a well-rounded game with 13 points and four rebounds. He banged up his knee and was being evaluated after the game.

“Zach’s a good basketball player. He knows how to play and he’s done some good things,” Kellogg said. “He banged up his knee a little bit, so I hope he’s fine.”

■ Even with Raphiael Putney graduated, UMass had plenty of dunking. In addition to Maxie Esho, whose dunking résumé is long, Clark, Dyson and Coleman all ignited the crowd with dunks.

■ Against a team with no size, Cady Lalanne dominated inside with 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks in 12 minutes. But more surprisingly were his two 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions.

■ Derrick Gordon’s outside shooting experiment is at best a work in progress. He was 0 for 3 from 3-point range.

■ Seth Berger started in the first half alongside Davis, Gordon, Lalanne and Esho. Dyson replaced Berger in the second half.

■ Kellogg liked the 30-second shot clock.

“We’d love to have a 30-second shot clock,” said Kellogg, whose team rarely ever gets close to a violation, even at 30. “I’ve been a proponent of that for a while now. A 30 would be fantastic.”

■ The Minutemen only have exhibition records since 1999, but their point total and margin of victory were easily the largest since then.

■ UMass’ walk-ons are officially on the roster. Mike Wojewodzic is a 6-foot-4 junior from Boston. Zach Turcotte is a 6-7 sophomore from Boxford. Both got in the game for the final five minutes. Wojewodzic made one free throw, while Turcotte was 0 for 4 from the field with two rebounds. Kellogg said the two will likely dress for home games and travel to nearby road games.

■ Somebody might want to get Turcotte a different jersey. He wore No. 30, which is retired for Al Skinner.

STAFF PROMOTIONS — UMass officially announced promotions within its coaching staff. Andy Allison was promoted to assistant coach, replacing Marlon “Smoke” Williamson, who left for Pittsburgh after the season. Tom Doherty is still the assistant to the head coach, but is also the director of basketball operations as well. Lou Roe is the assistant director of operations and Matt Vogel is now the operations coordinator.

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


 


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