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Loss of Javorn Farrell felt in UMass’ loss

The Massachusetts basketball team was forced to play without freshman guard Javorn Farrell in their 69-56 loss to Saint Louis Sunday evening.

Farrell was ejected early in the second half of the Minutemen’s 66-60 defeat to George Washington last Wednesday for hitting a GW player.

According to NCAA rules, if a player is ejected from a game, they are automatically suspended for the next contest.

“He’s one of our tough guys, we call him ‘junkyard dog,’ and not having him today was tough,” senior guard Ricky Harris said.

“He’s a big part of this team, but we had to play without him, but I wouldn’t say he’s the reason we lost the game, he would’ve given us about seven rebounds though.”

Farrell, known primarily for his tough defensive play, has seen more time as of late, starting the past six games in a row before Sunday’s game at the guard position, with the loss of point guard David Gibbs to a broken foot.

On the defensive side of the ball, Farrell has guarded some of UMass’ (10-17, 4-9 Atlantic 10) opponents’ best offensive players, such as Charlotte’s Shamari Spears and Xavier’s Jordan Crawford.

In those games, Farrell scored a career-high 12 points against the Musketeers and had a career-high four steals against the 49ers, with both games resulting in losses for the Minutemen.

This season, he has played in 23 games, including 16 off the bench, averaging 4.2 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game in 15.9 minutes, and was not even in the Mullins Center to watch his team take on the Billikens.

SLU (18-8, 9-3 A-10) grabbed 30 rebounds and had 14 second-chance points against the Minutemen, while guard Kyle Cassity had 16 points for the Billikens.

“I would say that hurt us a little bit,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “Not that the win or loss would’ve changed, but that was a game he would play well in because when they kind of play the wings tight, you have to be able to dribble the ball into the paint and be strong, and I think defensively, he would’ve helped us some, but is he worth 12, 13 points? I’m not sure.”

In Farrell’s place, Kellogg started freshman forward Sampson Carter against the Billikens. Carter finished with four points, six rebounds and two blocks in 24 minutes.

“I thought Sampson played pretty well at times,” Kellogg said. “He still gets tired too fast, and I think when the game gets moving, he gets tired a little bit quickly and there are some mental mistakes that go into it.”

Carter has played in 23 games this season, starting the first six games and averages 4.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game.

“I thought he did well, and he will continue to play more as the season goes on, and set the table for him for his career here, and I’m looking for him to continue to step up.”

Kellogg wants both players to contribute defensively and to play more physically in order to help the Minutemen in games.

“He played a little tougher, had a couple loose rebounds and loose balls,” Kellogg said. “He needs to play like Javorn plays, but be 6-foot-8 and do that.”

Farrell should be available when the Minutemen head to Dayton on Saturday.

David Brinch can be reached at dbrinch@student.umass.edu.

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