Scrolling Headlines:

: Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

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

Jesse Morgan makes strong case to return to starting lineup with big game

The last couple of weeks hadn’t exactly been favorable for Jesse Morgan.

Maria Uminski/Collegian

The Massachusetts men’s basketball shooting guard was suspended from the team’s Nov. 3 exhibition game and then didn’t start in his regular position in the starting lineup in the Minutemen’s season-opening victory over Harvard on Tuesday.

But a big reason why UMass came back and won on Tuesday was because of Morgan, who scored a game-high 19 points off the bench and added a career-high seven rebounds in 31 minutes.

The junior guard played instrumentally on both ends of the floor in the waning minutes of the game. The Minutemen trailed, 64-59, with one minute, 21 seconds remaining and were in serious trouble of losing before Morgan, whether he liked to admit or not, took over.

First, Morgan’s turnaround floater in the lane brought UMass back within three with 1:14 left. Then, on the next Crimson possession, he played exceptional defense on Harvard guard Wesley Saunders, ultimately forcing him into a five-second violation and giving the ball back to UMass.

On the ensuing possession, Morgan received the ball on the wing, then saw his defender back up a little and without hesitation, rose up and drained an NBA-length 3-pointer to tie the game at 64 with 39 seconds remaining.

“It wasn’t just to take over, it was just to play within the offense,” Morgan said. “I tried to do what the coach (wanted), the plays he ran, things like that, I was just trying to do whatever I had to do for my team. And it started with defense. I got the steal and the defensive pressure helped me get going, so that’s what I had to do.”

The case for Morgan to return back to the starting lineup seems reasonable considering Freddie Riley, who had a big game in the exhibition game against American International College, had a lackluster performance on Tuesday. The senior guard played 17 minutes, went 0-for-2 from the field, and picked up three fouls in the process.

Lalanne makes impact

Before Tuesday’s game, UMass coach Derek Kellogg said it would require a night of sleep to determine whether Maxie Esho or Cady Lalanne would start a center.

But if Lalanne’s performance on Tuesday is any indication, Kellogg won’t have to sleep on it anytime soon.

In 32 minutes, the sophomore center scored nine points, pulled down 13 rebounds – including five offensive boards – and recorded four blocks.

The 32 minutes Lalanne logged came as a bit of a surprise. After offseason foot surgery, he was only anticipated to play 20 to 22 minutes per game early on in the season, but Kellogg wasn’t afraid to put him out longer.

“He’ll play as many minutes as he can,” Kellogg said. “If he’s still playing hard at competing, I think he brings us a weapon that you just saw a little bit of. … If you see him get in a little better shape, I think he’s going to become a big-time player.”

Stephen Hewitt can be reached at shewitt@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @steve_hewitt.

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