Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

Minutemen basketball return home to face Rams

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team is returning home on Sunday afternoon after a week that featured travel woes, practice in an airport with a shoe instead of a ball and a win against Atlantic 10-opponent St. Bonaventure.

Now that the smoke has cleared, UMass returns back to the Mullins Center with a victory under its belt following a surreal experience on the flight out to SBU. The delayed landing left them practicing in an airport with a shoe, and out of their usual routine.

“It could have been easy for it to be a distraction,” senior guard Anthony Gurley said, “but myself and my teammates, we really showed that we were focused.”

This Sunday at 4 p.m., the Minutemen (12-7, 4-2 A-10) will focus on traditional rival Rhode Island in a heated contest that’ll pit two very similar teams against each other.

The Rams (13-7, 4-2 A-10) enter the Mullins Center with a near-identical record as UMass, and are one spot above them in the A-10 table.

Three of URI’s four conference wins came in a streak right towards the end of the winter break as the Rams toppled Richmond, the Bonnies and Saint

Joseph’s all within a week’s span. The contests against the Spiders and the Hawks were both away, giving URI a 3-0 record in all its road games.

While the Rams are boasting an undefeated road record in the conference, the Minutemen are 1-1 for home conference games this season. Before conference play began however, UMass suffered three-straight losses at the Mullins Center.

Part of the reason the Rams have been off to this hot conference start is due to senior forward Delroy James, who just recently scored 21 points (12 in the second half) in URI’s 59-57 win against Saint Louis.

The Minutemen will be eyeing James quite closely in the upcoming contest, as he averages 17.7 points per game along with near eight rebounds per contest.

While the Rams boast James and senior guard Marquis Jones (10.7 points per game), UMass will likely rely on its traditional high scorer, Gurley, who has led the Minutemen in scoring for 17 of their first 19 games.

UMass will be looking for Gurley to repeat his performance from last season’s meeting between these two teams, when the senior guard scored all of his 15 points in the final three-plus minutes of UMass’ 93-85 loss to URI.

These 15 points by Gurley came after a 36-minute struggle for the Minutemen, and were the surge for a comeback that limited a 24-point Rams lead down to as little as six points.

“We can’t have him not play the way he played at the end for a whole game,” Kellogg reflected after the URI game last season. “I don’t think we have enough fire power, we’re not good enough.”

Despite his strong performance in last season’s meeting, after the SBU game on Wednesday, Gurley called the upcoming contest against a URI a “tough game.”

Although Gurley is always a threat, if the Maroon and White’s last competition against SBU is any indication, others like Javorn Farrell and Gary Correia will need to step up.

Against the Bonnies, Farrell earned 16 points, while Correia had six points with two steals on the defensive end of the floor.

For most of the statistical categories in the A-10, URI and the Minutemen are at a near deadlock, except for 3-point field goal defense, which the Rams lead with just over 30 percent allowed from beyond the arc.

Conversely, the Minutemen rest at the pit of 3-point field goal percentage rankings, scoring over 28 percent of their attempted 3-pointers.

URI’s top 3-point defense mixed with the ailing UMass 3-point offense could limit the capabilities of top shooter Freddie Riley, who lurks from beyond the arc.

Meanwhile, the Minutemen rank fourth in the A-10 for offensive boards (URI is seventh), and averages less than a percent higher than the Rams for defensive rebounds.

Sean and Sampson Carter will look to continue their rebounding ways, as they earned eight and nine rebounds, respectively, against the Bonnies on Wednesday night.

No matter what Sunday afternoon holds for UMass, the team will have Saint Louis and SJU to compete with next, both of which are away games.

Herb Scribner can be reached at hscribne@student.umass.edu.

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