December 22, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Recovery fund established for former UMass student Chloe Rombach -

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Minutemen search for answers following blowout loss to Providence -

Saturday, December 20, 2014

UMass dominated in 85-65 loss to Providence -

Saturday, December 20, 2014

BLOG: UMass football recruiting roundup: UMass signs DT, offers two kickers -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass President Robert Caret resigns to become chancellor of the University of Maryland system -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brandon Montour: ‘It felt great to be out there’ -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass falls to Northeastern in Brandon Montour’s debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cady Lalanne continues to evolve as a potential outside shooting threat -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

UMass hockey returns to action against Northeastern, Montour to make season debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Demetrius Dyson remains hopeful despite rocky start to season -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Former UMass soccer star Matt Keys aims to continue his career professionally -

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pierre-Louis, Dillard shine in UMass victory over Holy Cross -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Passing, spacing improved in UMass victory -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Prolific first half propels UMass past Canisius, 75-58 -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

UMass Faculty Senate hears ad hoc committee’s report on FBS football, shoots down contentious motion -

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Minutemen hope improved spacing will aid struggling half court offense -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Divest UMass urges Board of Trustees to split with fossil fuel industry -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cady Lalanne accustomed to dealing with increased attention -

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Front to Back: Week of Dec. 1, 2014 -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chiarelli: UMass basketball running out of time to find its identity -

Monday, December 8, 2014

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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