UMass men's basketball eyes revenge against Central Connecticut
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 12/30/2011
AMHERST - Any conversation about the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team's worst games in the 2010-11 season has to include both the 92-63 loss at Central Connecticut State and the 77-73 defeat at Fordham.
The Minutemen will try to avenge both of those results in their next two games beginning with today's 7 p.m. game against CCSU at the Mullins Center. The game completes UMass' nonconference schedule. UMass opens conference play at home against Fordham on Thursday.
Junior Javorn Farrell said that loss to Central last year still stings.
“Last year we took them lightly and we definitely didn't play our best basketball. That was probably one of the worst games I was part of in my basketball career,” he said shaking his head. “We're doing a better job preparing for them.”
UMass coach Derek Kellogg said he hasn't talked with his team much about that loss.
“I'm just focused about our team and trying to get better,” Kellogg said. “That's really what we've worked on.”
Senior center Sean Carter was trying to take a similar approach.
“We took some pretty hard ones last year in that down stretch we had. We're not going to harp on last year,” he said. “We're just worrying about what's happening right now.”
A year ago the Minutemen opened the season 7-0, but the loss to Central came during a 1-5 stretch that began to derail their season. At 10-3, the UMass players are hoping to avoid a similar slide.
“Our guys are in a much better frame of mind. They're more of a team and they feel good about things,” said Kellogg, who hoped the team used its intersession break without classes as an opportunity to build on its strong start. “We spend a lot of time together. I think this is a group that's going to stay together and continue to play well.”
“The 10-3 start is better than any year I've been here. We're feeling a lot better,” he said. “We're up here just playing basketball. We don't have a choice but to get better.”
The Blue Devils are 5-6 in what's been a season of streaks for Howie Dickenman's squad. They lost their first two games, won their next five and have lost their last four, including an 85-59 loss to La Salle at home last week.
That loss came without leading scorer Ken Horton, who was out one game with an ankle injury. According to CCSU spokesman Tom Pincince, Horton will play tonight. The 6-foot-6 forward averages 9.3 rebounds and 22.5 points, which is No. 4 in the nation before Thursday's games.
NOTES - UMass is 6-0 at home, including the game at the Curry Hicks Cage, and 8-0 in Massachusetts with wins at Springfield and Boston College. … Freddie Riley has averaged 10.4 points per game in UMass wins and 3.0 ppg in losses. Terrell Vinson has similar splits with 9.6 points in wins and 3.7 in defeat.
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at http://www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.
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Men's Basketball Races Past CCSU, 97-65
Five different Minutemen reached double- figures in scoring the victory over the Blue Devils on Friday.
From UMass Athletics, 12/30/2011
AMHERST, Mass. - Using a 32-point scoring edge, the second-largest winning margin of the year, the UMass men's basketball team defeated Central Connecticut State on Friday evening, 97-65, improving to 7-0 at home this season. Five different Minutemen reached double-digit scoring, as Raphiael Putney and Chaz Williams paced UMass with 18 each.
The Minutemen have now won five straight contests, finishing the non-conference portion of their schedule with an 11-3 record. Freddie Riley (14 points), Cady Lalanne (12 points), and Terrell Vinson (10 points) combined for 36 of UMass' 97 point effort. The Minutemen's bench continued to dominate its opponent, scoring 37 points among the non-starters compared to CCSU's 16.
On the boards, UMass controlled the Blue Devils, 48-25. Cady Lalanne and Putney eached raked in eight rebounds for the Minutemen, while Sean Carter grabbed seven. Lalanne tied his career-high scoring with 12 points, last accomplished against the College of Charleston on Nov. 26.
The Minutemen got off to a quick 18-6 lead 6:07 into the first half. Williams propelled the 47 point first half effort by tallying 12 points, en route to his seventh straight game in double-figure scoring. The redshirt sophomore also dished out four assists.
Following a 12-3 run beginning at 17:15 in the second frame, the Minutemen never looked back. Putney highlighted the latter 20 minutes with 13 points and four rebounds, ending the game with a career-high 18 points. UMass ended the stanza on a 20-3 run commencing with 10:20 remaining in regulation.
Leading the way for CCSU was Robby Ptacek with 21 points. UMass was able to hold the nation's third best scorer, Ken Horton, to just 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Horton came into the game averaging 22.5 points per game.
The Minutemen outshot CCSU .543 (38-70) to .349 (22-63) from the field. Andrew McCarthy added a career high six points for the Minutemen in as many minutes on the court.
UMass opens A-10 play on Jan. 5 against Northeast rival Fordham at 7 p.m. at the Mullins Center.
UMass men's basketball crushes Central Connecticut
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 12/31/2011
AMHERST - Coming into the game the University of Massachusetts men's basketball players said they weren't fixated on paying back Central Connecticut for last year's 29-point loss on the road.
Fixated or not they did it anyway as the Minutemen crushed the Blue Devils 97-65 Friday at the Mullins Center.
“It was nice to get a win versus a team that I thought really handled us last year,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “It shows that we've matured some and hopefully are improving. It was really a fun-paced game.”
UMass opened the game on a 23-8 run and never looked back as the Minutemen played the game at the pace they wanted throughout.
“That's the style of basketball we want to play,” senior center Sean Carter said. “We got the game up-tempo. That was one of the fastest games we played all season.”
UMass dominated on the glass and from behind the 3-point line. The Minutemen outrebounded CCSU 48-25 and made 12 3s compared to just one for the Blue Devils.
“We're trying to speed the game up and make them take tough shots. The only way we can do that is to get the rebounds so we can run back at them fast,” Carter said.
Central coach Howie Dickenman shook his head.
“We were manhandled by UMass,” Dickenman said. “Their size was a key in them doing what they wanted against us. … They mauled us on the glass. They were the better team yes, but we did not have the fight to compete.”
Raphiael Putney, who was a rare bright spot against CCSU last year with a career-high 14 points, bettered that with a new personal-best 18 points to go with eight rebounds.
“He's got a lot more to give,” Kellogg said. “I think he can be a very, very good player at some point, and he's kind of scratching the surface right now. So it's nice when he gives you what you can expect out of him.”
Chaz Williams, who led UMass' early charge, had 18 points and four assists. Freddie Riley (14 points), Cady Lalanne (12 points, eight rebounds) and Terrell Vinson (10 points) joined Williams and Putney in double figures.
“I just want to try to continue to play well and keep these kids even-keeled, but pushing and pushing them harder and harder,” Kellogg said. “I thought we got some good contributions from different guys today, and it was nice to see Chaz play the way Chaz can play, really for a full 30 minutes that he played.”
Central's Ken Horton came in as the No. 4 scorer in the country at 22.5 points per game. UMass held him to 16 points and 12 rebounds. Robby Ptacek led CCSU (5-7) with 21 points.
The last time UMass won 11 nonconference games was the last time the Minutemen made the postseason as they matched their 2007-08 nonconference record of 11-3. The Minutemen will host Fordham, Thursday at 7 p.m. to open conference play.
Cady Lalanne hurts foot in UMass basketball victory
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 12/31/2011
AMHERST - Lost in the celebration of the University of Massachusetts' easy 97-65 win over Central Connecticut Friday was an injury to big man Cady Lalanne.
The freshman, who had 12 points and eight rebounds, left the Mullins Center on crutches with a foot injury. There was no apparent play that the injury occurred on as Lalanne was on the floor at the end of the game.
The extent of the injury is unknown. According to UMass coach Derek Kellogg, Lalanne, who missed most of preseason training with a foot injury, will be X-rayed on Saturday.
His absence for any length of time would leave UMass very thin up front as Sean Carter is UMass' only other true center on scholarship. Senior Matt Hill, who has filled that role in the past, is out with a knee injury.
It could open the door for some emergency minutes for walk-on big man Andrew McCarthy.
The 7-foot-1 center delivered the best performance of his young career with six points, two rebounds and a blocked shot in six minutes against CCSU. McCarthy still doesn't move well enough to play in UMass' up-tempo offense, but in the half-court set he looked good. McCarthy finished a pick and roll and made both free throw attempts.
“He's finally starting to practice like a guy who wants to try to help this team and be serious about playing, and he's actually had to practice every single day and every minute, because we have 10 guys in practice,” said Kellogg, who is missing Trey Lang and Sampson Carter to injuries. “So we'll see if he can continue to improve. With him, it's a confidence thing and how hard can I play? If he can do those things, I think he has a chance to help this team. Don't forget, he's a redshirt freshman, so that's great.”
PREGAME TECHNICAL - UMass began the game at the free-throw line as Central Connecticut senior David Simmons was assessed a rarely called technical foul for dunking during warm-ups. Chaz Williams made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Minutemen a 1-0 lead before the opening tip.
The call doesn't count as a personal foul or one of two technicals that would lead to an ejection.
HOME DOMINANCE - UMass (11-3) finished the nonconference season with a 7-0 home record, including six wins at the Mullins Center and one at the Curry Hicks Cage.
MISCELLANEOUS - The win was the 50th of Kellogg's career. … Sixth-grader Ryan Morris, son of former UMass football coach Kevin Morris, took part in the half-time contest and made a layup, free throw and 3-pointer to win a night in a hotel in Boston.
UMass basketball team, Putney throw weight around (12/31/2011)
Minutemen relentless in rout (12/31/2011)
Long memories motivate UMass (12/31/2011)
|Fast break points||10|
|Points off turnovers||21|
|Second chance points||7|
|Points in the paint||30|
|Fast break points||18|
|Points off turnovers||25|
|Second chance points||15|
|Points in the paint||44|
|Score by Periods||1st||2nd||OT1||OT2||OT3||Final|
|Officials||Kevin O'Connell, Todd Williams, Jeff Anderson|
|Technical Fouls||CCSU: Simmons|