UMass faces tough test vs No. 15 Dayton

  • Dayton guard Jalen Crutcher (10) moves to the basket past Saint Joseph's forward Lorenzo Edwards (21) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson) Laurence Kesterson

  • Dayton forward Obi Toppin (1) is fouled by Saint Joseph's forward Chereef Knox (0) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson) Laurence Kesterson

  • Dayton's Jalen Crutcher, left, dribbles the ball past La Salle's Ayinde Hikim during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton) Derik Hamilton

  • Dayton's Obi Toppin, left, works the ball past La Salle's Isiah Deas during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton) Derik Hamilton

Staff Writer
Published: 1/10/2020 7:05:08 PM
Modified: 1/10/2020 7:04:29 PM

If there is any other team in the Atlantic 10 with which UMass coach Matt McCall is familiar, it’s Dayton.

The No. 15 Flyers are coached by one of McCall’s mentors – Anthony Grant – and two of their starting guards either played for or signed to play for McCall at Chattanooga. So when the Minutemen travel to UD Arena on Saturday for the 12:30 p.m. tipoff, there won’t be many surprises awaiting them.

“The job that Anthony has done in such a short amount of time to get them (to where they are) ... I’m proud to call him a mentor of mine,” McCall said after Wednesday’s 77-69 win over La Salle. “Rodney Chatman and Jalen Crutcher, Rodney played for me one year at Chattanooga, Jalen signed with me at Chattanooga, two terrific guards that we need to contain.”

Perhaps more critical for the Minutemen (7-8, 1-1 Atlantic 10) is finding an answer for potential NBA Draft lottery selection Obi Toppin. Already named to various national player of the year award watch lists, Toppin leads Dayton (13-2, 2-0) with 19.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Toppin’s athleticism will be an interesting challenge for UMass freshman center Tre Mitchell and the rest of the frontcourt.

McCall is 2-1 as a head coach at Dayton, having beaten the Flyers while at Chattanooga then again in his first year as the UMass coach. The Minutemen lost both games to Dayton last year, dropping a 72-67 contest last year on the road.

BOTTOM LINE — UMass has played a ranked team only once this season and lost. Dayton is looking to extend its current four-game winning streak.

FAB FRESHMEN — UMass has relied heavily on its freshmen. Mitchell, Carl Pierre, Sean East II and Samba Diallo have combined to account for 66 percent of the team’s scoring this year and 83 percent of all Minutemen points over the team’s last five games.

FACILITATING THE OFFENSE — East has accounted for 47 percent of all UMass field goals over the last three games. The freshman guard has 21 field goals and 16 assists in those games.

UNDEFEATED WHEN — The Flyers are 12-0 when they hold opposing teams to 68 points or fewer and 1-2 when opponents exceed 68 points. The Minutemen are 6-0 when they hold opponents to a field goal percentage of 42 percent or worse, and 1-8 when opponents exceed that percentage.

TWO STREAKS — UMass has dropped its last four road games, scoring 67.8 points and allowing 84.8 points during those contests. Dayton has won its last eight home games, scoring an average of 84.4 points while giving up 61.9.

DID YOU KNOW — The Dayton offense has scored 83.1 points per game this season, ranking the Flyers ninth nationally. The UMass defense has allowed 71.6 points per game to opponents (ranked 207th).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




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