Lappas thinking big
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 11/20/2001

AMHERST -When he was concerned about what kind of production he was going to get from his small forwards, University of Massachusetts coach Steve Lappas always seemed comfortable with his backup plan - three guards.

But after Friday night's 66-60 win over Arkansas Little Rock, he seemed a little more concerned about what that lineup gives up defensively.

"I thought one of the problems was when we were small, they made some shots over us," Lappas said. "Every shot they made from the perimeter was contested, but a lot of them were with a smaller guy with his hands up. We need to do a better job making guys a little more hesitant to shoot some of those balls."

The Minutemen's efforts weren't always futile. Late in the game, 5-foot-10 freshman Anthony Anderson did a solid job slowing 6-foot-3 Nick Zachery, who'd dominated the Minutemen until that point.

"We can do it, but we have to keep an eye on it," Lappas said. "If we're playing guys that are 6-3, 6-4 and they're shooting over us, that may be a problem."

On the other hand, while Lappas is less confident using three guards, he's more confident in his small forwards. Raheim Lamb and Willie Jenkins both played well.

"Willie did a good job defensively. He played hard, got a couple of big rebounds and made that play at the end," Lappas said, referring to Jenkins coming up with a key loose ball. "Raheim looked good. He had four points. He was active, he was aggressive on the offensive glass. I'd rather not have to go small for long periods of time, so it helped that those guys did some things."

RECRUITS: The wait for Allasane Kouyate's decision will go a couple more days. The Mali-born big man who lives in Ohio has a press conference scheduled for Wednesday to announce his decision. He is deciding between UMass and Duquesne.

DEBUTS: Lappas' victory in his first game on the UMass bench gave the Atlantic 10's new coaches a 5-0 record in their debuts so far.

George Washington surprised Marshall, 69-64, in Karl Hobbs' debut, while Xavier pounded Coastal Carolina, 72-41, in Thad Matta's maiden voyage.

Even perennial doormats Duquesne and La Salle opened with wins. Danny Nee's Dukes defeated Maryland Eastern Shore, 76-52, while Billy Hahn's Explorers beat Morris Brown, 63-49.

Jan van Breda Kolff coaches his first game with St. Bonaventure and Jim Baron's Rhody debut come tonight at Cleveland State and Virginia Tech, respectively.

FINALLY: Popular former UMass radio announcer George Miller is back on the air. He's joined the University of Vermont broadcast team and will do selected men's and women's games for the Catamounts.

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