Scrolling Headlines:

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

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

Kellogg features depth during UMass win

Erica Baptiste/Collegian

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team stepped onto the court Wednesday night in an unfamiliar fashion.

For the first time this season, their floor general, Chaz Williams, and greatest 3-point threat, Freddie Riley, found a seat on the bench to begin the game. The duo had started all seven games prior to this point but were benched for reasons unrelated to discipline, according to UMass head coach Derek Kellogg.

“I wanted to let them know that really there is no set lineup and that the way things went in the Bahamas I wasn’t happy with and I thought that maybe shaking it up a little bit would get their attention,” said Kellogg.

Riley and Williams both struggled in the Bahamas in certain situations. In two of the three games in the Bahamas, Riley shot a combined 1-for-12 on 3-pointers, while Williams, the team’s leader in assists, failed to register a single dime in the team’s final game of the tournament.

The unexpected move was not just about getting through to Riley and Williams, Kellogg saw this as an opportunity to get backup point guard Jesse Morgan and wingman Raphiael Putney much deserved minutes.

“It helped get Jesse some minutes at the point, and it was [going] to help Putney get some more playing time,” said Kellogg.

Putney responded well, going 4-for-4 in the first half and tallying all 10 of his points in the first 20 minutes of the game.

Kellogg was particularly pleased with Morgan’s effort as he who tossed in eight points and added a season-high nine assists.

“I thought he did a great job,” said Kellogg. “For us to be better he’s got to get better and he showed great signs in the Bahamas and I thought he showed some great signs tonight.”

Despite their absences from the starting lineup, both Riley and Williams made significant contributions.

Riley led the Minutemen with 15 points, highlighted by a pair of dunks and three 3-pointers. Williams finished just behind Riley in scoring with 12 points, and continued his dazzling play at the point guard position, dishing out eight assists.

Kellogg was pleased that coming off the bench had little effect on two of his most important players.

“Really it’s just all how they are attitude-wise,” said Kellogg.  “If they come in and they’re excited and ready to play I don’t think that affects them too much.”

Ultimately, the benching meant little in terms of minutes played for Riley and Williams.

Riley played 16 minutes, a number that surely would have been higher if the score hadn’t gotten so out of hand. Morgan and Cady Lalanne led the Minutemen in minutes played with 28, but despite the benching, Williams finished right behind them playing 25 minutes, another number that likely took a hit given the score in the second half.

In the end, Riley and Williams proved there’s truly no difference between starting a game and coming in off of the bench, a point Kellogg has attempted to stress to his players ad nauseam this season.

“I’ve really tried to sell [to] these guys [there are] 10-11 starters,” he said. “I don’t know how much kids these days buy that but that’s what I’m going with.”

Judging by Riley’s reaction to the benching after the game, Kellogg’s philosophy has rubbed off on him.

“I’m comfortable with whatever role coach wants me to play in,” said Riley.

UMass now heads out to Miami to face another ACC opponent. Kellogg isn’t entirely sure how the starting five will look for that game.

“I’m not sure about that, I think we’ll reevaluate game-by-game and play-to-play of who’s starting,” said Kellogg.

Jackson Alexander can be reached at jtalexan@student.umass.edu.

 

Leave A Comment