The Massachusetts men’s basketball team couldn’t quite get into a rhythm to start Monday’s game against Texas Christian. Nevertheless, the Minutemen pulled out a lopsided 67-48 victory over the Horned Frogs with a balanced scoring offense.
The first half of the game was a choppy and combative affair with 20 fouls called against both sides. Senior point guard Gary Correia suffered an injury and played 19 minutes throughout the contest. However, UMass (4-0) overcame the injury and continued to play strong.
“I thought our team came out with great energy,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “We rebounded the basketball and we looked like a team against what I think is a very good TCU team.”
Even though Kellogg praised the Horned Frogs, he also displayed very strong emotions towards UMass and its continuing success.
“I keep telling my team, what’s our identity?” Kellogg asked. “What do people think of when they think of UMass basketball? I want it to be that from the minute the clock starts to the second the team walks off the floor we’re up on them, we’re tenacious, we’re taking good quality shots on the offensive end of the floor and we’re sharing the basketball.”
Kellogg was optimistic after the fourth-straight Maroon and White victory.
“I’m ecstatic with where our team is right now,” Kellogg said. “We’re playing winning basketball.”
The Minutemen turned in a team effort for the victory with a balanced scoring attack. Senior guard Anthony Gurley led the team with 14 points, while sophomore Javorn Farrell contributed 12 in his second game back from injury. Sophomores Freddie Riley and Sampson Carter each added 10 points as well, while Riley came up with the play of the game; a one-handed slam over an opponent that electrified the crowd.
The team concept extended to the Minutemen’s performance on the glass and passing the basketball. Carter, Gurley and center Hashim Bailey each had five rebounds or more, while only guard J.R. Cadot of TCU had more than four.
Another example of their balance was in the playmaking. Eight players notched an assist for UMass, but no player had more than two.
UMass out-hustled its opponent in all aspects on the game. The Minutemen racked up 11 second-chance points to TCU’s two, scored 19 points off turnovers and won the rebounding battle, 43-34.
Correia, after going down with an ankle injury in the first half, came up with his first two 3-pointers of the season, including one as the shot clock expired. He added six points overall in the win.
“When you’re a shooter, you don’t ever want to think about it,” Correia said. “I just try to get it in my pocket as fast as possible and let the shot go.”
For TCU, guard Ronnie Moss led the way. He was the only member of the Horned Frogs in double figures, with 10 points and two assists. Cadot had eight rebounds to pace the team as well.
UMass will next return to action Wednesday against American International at the Mullins Center and will also play Saturday against Holy Cross in the Curry Hicks Cage. AIC currently holds a 3-2 record and is coming off a loss against Le Moyne in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. Holy Cross is 0-4 and lost, 69-54, to Boston College in its last game.
Ben Lambert can be reached at email@example.com.