Ford says weakness exposed
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 10/30/2006

AMHERST - After Saturday night's closed scrimmage against Albany, University of Massachusetts men's basketball coach Travis Ford said his team has plenty of work to do to get ready for the regular season.

NCAA rules prohibit the score and statistics from being kept in preseason closed scrimmages, but Ford said his team did not play well.

The Minutemen were without both junior wing Etienne Brower, who was out with an ankle sprain, and senior big man Rashaun Freeman, who is sidelined with a hip injury. Ford used Chris Lowe, who is suspended for the team's exhibition game and season opener, sparingly.

Ford said he hopes to have Freeman back practicing in the next few days and Brower sometime next week.

''We didn't play that well,'' Ford said. ''We found more weaknesses than strengths. We had a hard time keeping their point guard (Jamar Wilson) in front of us and we didn't play one-on-one defense very well. A lot of guys struggled from the field. Gary Forbes didn't shoot very well, really nobody shot the ball well. They thought it was going to come easy and it didn't. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call for some guys.''

Ford said Stephane Lasme was a bright spot and singled out Dante Milligan for praise.

''Dante played a lot more with Rashaun out and really made good use of his minutes,'' said Ford, who continued to experiment with different combinations. ''Stephane blocked a lot of shots. We're not allowed to keep stats, but he was our leading scorer I'm sure.''

Unlike last year where Ford did a full scouting report and normal game preparation for the team's closed scrimmage against Seton Hall, he approached this one differently.

''I wanted guys to go out there and try to figure things out for themselves without any preparation,'' Ford said. ''I wanted them to play by doing our thing.''

The Minutemen host Division II Bridgeport at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mullins Center before opening the regular season at home against Dartmouth at 5 p.m. Nov. 11.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. For more UMass coverage including a frequently updated UMass sports blog, go to www.dailyhampshiregazette.com/umsports


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