UMass basketball notebook: two players ejected in St. Bonaventure loss



Published: 12-30-2016 9:02 PM

AMHERST — UMass and St. Bonaventure has been a good rivalry in recent years, but the matchup got extra heated when Minuteman center Brison Gresham and St. Bonaventure big man Jay Ayeni were each ejected in the first half of the Bonnies 89-77 win at the Mullins Center.

The incident began when Gresham grabbed the ball out of Ayeni’s hands, and the Bonnie freshman fouled him. The two quickly went nose-to-nose jawing at each other. Ayeni took a swing and hit Gresham as people from both sides attempted to intervene. As he was being pulled away, Gresham swung his arm. He was far away from Ayeni or any other Bonnie at that point, but the attempt at aggression cost him.

Both players were assessed double technical fouls and ejected.

Because the calls were double technicals and not fighting calls, both players are eligible to return for their team’s next game. A fighting call comes with a mandatory one-game suspension. The Atlantic 10 has the option to review the video and assess a fighting violation after the fact.

According to a source within the Atlantic 10, no announcement one way or the other was expected Friday.

UMass coach Derek Kellogg hadn’t seen the replay after the game.

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“I’ll probably go back and re-watch it when I get back just to make sure there is no ramifications moving forward,” he said.

From what he’d seen without the benefit of replay, Kellogg was surprised as the call.

“Well I thought the Brison double-ejection was the biggest play of the game, honestly. We kind of had momentum going, and I was in the huddle saying ‘we’re going to get two free throws and the ball and this is what’s going to happen,’ then the next thing I know, they’re both thrown out and we just get the ball,” Kellogg said. “I thought that that hurt us. And then Malik getting hurt and then Brison, it shortened up the rotation some.”

The call changed the frontcourt balance. UMass was already missing Malik Hines, who appeared to turn his ankle in the first half and didn’t return. Ayeni had been SBU’s best frontcourt player on a team that was already thin inside.

“It was disappointing. You’ve got two freshmen that kind of lost their minds a little bit,” St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said. “Josh was playing really well. He’ll learn from that.”

Sophomore Rashaan Holloway and Chris Baldwin both played well in increased minutes for UMass.

“I just knew I needed to step up. I knew I didn’t have a lot of guys behind me and I knew that whatever I did I had to keep fighting for team; to come up with loose balls and offense rebounds and defensive rebounds,” Holloway said. “I should have done better, I want to do better defending pick-and-roll defense. But you know, it’s a learning point in the season and we’ll get better for next game.”

Baldwin had nine points and nine rebounds in 12 minutes.

“I thought he was great. He’s been waiting for his time, its just he did some instinct things instinctively; rebounds, putbacks, whatever,” Kellogg said. “But there were a few plays where he hasn’t been in that position.”

Kellogg said he though Hines’ injury was “a bad ankle sprain,” but didn’t know his prognosis going forward.

ADAMS LIKES MULLINS – Jaylen Adams likes playing at UMass. In three career games in Amherst he has 67 points an average of 22.3 points per game. He’s averaging 23.5 points per game this season.

MISCELLANEOUS – Donte Clark moved into 42st place on UMass’ career scoring list with 1,040 points. He needs two point to become the Minutemen’s highest scoring Clark(e) as Charlton Clarke is No. 41 at 1,041.

Rashaun Freeman, who is No. 5 all-time with 1,744 points was among the 4,877 fans in attendance.

Matt Vautour can be reached at Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at