UMass vs. Temple still a rivalry in the Dingle family

  • In this March 17, 1994 photo, UMass’ Dana Dingle, right, tries to get a handle on a rebound against Southwest Texas State’s Desi Howard during the second half of their NCAA Midwest Regional tournament game in Wichita, Kan. On Thursday, Dana Dingle will be rooting for UMass when it hosts Temple and his brother Daniel Dingle. AP

  • Temple’s Daniel Dingle, right, controls the ball in front of Connecticut’s Jalen Adams during the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference men’s tournament in Orlando, Fla., March 12, 2016. Dingle and Temple will visit the Mullins Center on Thursday to play UMass, where his brother Dana starred for the Minutemen. AP

@MattVautourDHG
Published: 11/16/2016 8:23:25 PM

AMHERST — For most people, a UMass-Temple men’s basketball game is more nostalgia than an active rivalry.

There are no more conference implications between the schools and most combatants from when this was a game of national interest are no longer there.

John Chaney has retired and John Calipari has found other folks to feud with now that he’s at Kentucky. It’s not an active conflict any more, just an early season nonconference game between two teams that could use a victory.

Except in the Dingle household.

For the basketball family from the Bronx, New York, Thursday’s 7 p.m. Mullins Center meeting is still a big deal. It’s UMass, big brother Dana Dingle’s alma mater, against Temple, little brother Daniel Dingle’s current squad.

On Tuesday, Dana, who was a key piece of UMass’ 1996 Final Four run, was still trying to arrange his work schedule in Long Island, where he lives now, to go to the game.

But he’ll be following along whether or not he’s in the building. He’ll be rooting for the Minutemen.

“It’s an awkward thing with him playing for my rival from when I was in school,” said Dana, who works as a personal trainer and runs the New York Lightning AAU program. “I told him I hope he does well, but I hope they lose. I want my brother to do well, but I can’t root for Temple to beat UMass.”

Minuteman guard Zach Lewis played for the Lightning, while Dingle and UMass coach Derek Kellogg, his former teammate, have stayed in touch.

“I talk to Derek quite often so I still feel tied in,” said Dingle, who was Kellogg’s roommate during part of his time at UMass.

He said it felt odd that UMass and Temple weren’t a rivalry any more.

“With the conference change, it’s not the same,” Dana said. “But for us it was the biggest rivalry. I thought that rivalry would never end.”

UMass and Temple haven’t played since the Owls left in the Atlantic 10 for the AAC following the 2012-13 season. The Minutemen won the final game 79-74 in the conference tournament in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The last nine games have been settled by 10 points or less, with three of those going to overtime.

While it’s early in the season, both teams are trying to shake off a tough loss.

The Owls (1-1) beat La Salle, 97-92, in an overtime thriller on Friday before getting stunned by New Hampshire, 57-52, Monday.

Junior big man Obi Enechionyia has led Temple with 20.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Daniel Dingle, a fifth-year senior, is off to his best start averaging 17.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. His scoring average, albeit over two games, is higher than his previous four years (he took a medical redshirt as a true freshman) combined.

The Minutemen (1-1) fell to Ole Miss, 90-88, in the final seconds Monday and were eager to atone for the loss.

“We let one get a away that we definitely should have gotten,” junior Donte Clark said. “There were things in the last couple of minutes that we could have done better, but there were things in the first half we could have done and put them away then.”

Clark, who has tried to be a mentor to the Minutemen’s newcomers, was encouraged at their performance so far.

“I’m definitely proud of them. I wasn’t exactly sure what the freshmen were going to do,” he said. “I’m proud of (DeJon Jarreau) and Luwane (Pipkins) and Zach Lewis.”

BERGER UNCERTAIN — Kellogg said Seth Berger’s wrist, which has sidelined the junior forward, wasn’t broken, but it wasn’t right either.

“It’s pretty strained and there’s some things going on,” Kellogg said. “We’ll see how he feels. I’d like to use him if possible. I would assume if he’s not good to go (Thursday) he wouldn’t be good to go Sunday. That would give him another week off until Harvard.”

UMass plays Holy Cross at 1 p.m. Sunday at the DCU Center in Worcester. It hosts Harvard on Nov. 26 at 1 p.m.

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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