Vinson’s double-double leads UMass to victory
No Ricky Harris. No Freddie Riley. No problem.
The Massachusetts men’s basketball team defeated Grambling State, 81-58, behind key performances from freshman forward Terrell Vinson and junior guard Gary Correia.
Vinson had his first collegiate double-double (20 points, 11 rebounds), while Correia, starting in place of Harris, added 11 points in the victory.
“We didn’t have Ricky, we didn’t have Freddie, Javorn was at half speed, but I think our kids took care of business tonight,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said.
Harris, the Minutemen’s (5-5) leading scorer, sprained his ankle during Thursday’s practice and did not play, while Riley had minor knee surgery and could be out from 2-4 weeks.
Farrell, who injured his groin, grabbed 10 rebounds in 11 minutes, and added six points in the victory over the Tigers (1-5), who are one of the worst Division I programs and who started three players who were below six feet tall.
“I thought it would be a tough cover for us,” Kellogg said. “Three quick guys [are] really three point guards out there, and they were smaller guys. A lot of times those teams can be trouble. What you have to do against those teams, which is what we did, is out rebound them. Beat them on the boards. I think the offensive rebounds, especially by Vinson, are what separated us in the game.”
Freshman forward Sampson Carter had 11 points and nine rebounds, while Hashim Bailey added nine, a career high, and Anthony Gurley contributed nine points.
UMass out rebounded the Tigers, 55-30, and dominated inside, scoring 56 points in the paint and scored 28 second-chance points.
Correia broke the game open with two-straight 3-pointers, catalyzing a 10-0 run that gave the Minutemen a 33-25 lead at halftime.
When asked about Correia’s role changing, Kellogg sees him as a stable player who is seen as a role model on a young team.
“I think Gary’s role is ever-changing,” Kellogg said. “I see him being a more stable guy that’s going to continue to get more minutes as the season goes on, or be more productive in the minutes that he’s playing. He’s getting more playing time at the position every game and he’s taking on more of a leadership role in practice.”
UMass took control in the second half, pushing their lead to 20 with 13 minutes to go.
The Minutemen have a week off before taking on Memphis at TD Bank Garden on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. Kellogg was an assistant at Memphis for eight seasons before returning to his alma mater last season. With the week off, Kellogg believes Harris will be able to play against the Tigers on Saturday.
David Brinch can be reached at email@example.com.