Scrolling Headlines:

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

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

Jesse Morgan’s career-high 35 points steer Minutemen to win over Ohio

Taylor C. Snow/Collegian

It’s not often that the play of the Massachusetts men’s basketball team has people making comparisons to past UMass greats like Julius Erving and Marcus Camby. But for one night, junior guard Jesse Morgan had people rushing to check the school record books.

Morgan scored a career-high 35 points in the Minutemen’s 85-76 home win over Ohio in front of 3,821 spectators on Wednesday night at the Mullins Center. Morgan’s scoring output was the highest of any Atlantic 10 Conference player this year and is tied for the 13th most all-time in UMass history.

Morgan, who connected on 7-of-10 3-point attempts, said after the game that the rim felt “ocean big” to him as the game progressed. “After my first shot I felt like I couldn’t miss again,” he said.

UMass coach Derek Kellogg, who hasn’t been used to wins that don’t come down to the wire so far this season, said it was comforting to see Morgan playing with such confidence.

“It’s huge,” Kellogg said. “I’ve seen him do that before and to see him do it now in a college game was really just kind of uplifting for the team, (and) I think uplifting for the fans.

“As a coach, when he’s raising up and you think it’s in, instead of kind of praying that it goes in, it’s nice that I felt really confident about the guys over there today.”

UMass (6-3) used Morgan’s career-best shooting performance to help put together two extended scoring runs against a formidable Bobcat team that shot 45.3 percent from the field. After falling behind 18-6 in the game’s first five minutes, the Minutemen went on a 23-1 run powered by a flurry of Morgan 3-point makes, several of which coming at the edge of his self-described “in-the-gym” shooting range.

While the Bobcats’ (7-4) hot shooters — led by 23 points from senior guard D.J. Cooper — kept Ohio within striking distance throughout, UMass took a 48-40 advantage into the half and never relinquished the lead.

“I thought we took on a very good Ohio team that came in 7-3,” Kellogg said. “I thought our guys, except for the first probably four or five minutes of the game played at a high level and really played UMass basketball.”

Lost in the hype surrounding Morgan’s big night, perhaps to fans but not his coach, was the first career double-double from beleaguered sophomore forward Cady Lalanne. Lalanne, who made news after being arrested on Dec. 1, recently returned from suspension and put together his strongest showing yet against the Bobcats, tallying 12 points and 11 boards.

“I thought Cady was real big tonight getting some offensive rebound put backs,” Kellogg said. “(It was) by far the best game of the year for Cady.”

Junior guard Chaz Williams, who saw his 26-game double-digit scoring streak come to an end, played the role of trigger plan to a tee, making sure Morgan had the ball when he was hot and drawing off Lalanne’s offensive boards.

“Once I see (Morgan) hit, it’s no more going away from Jesse or run different plays,” Williams said. “You can’t let plays go without him touching the ball, and that’s exactly what I was out there trying to do.”

The Minutemen next play host to visiting East Carolina on Saturday when they look to extend their winning streak to four games at 1:30 p.m. at the Mullins Center.

Daniel Malone can be reached at dmalone@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Daniel_Malone.

Leave A Comment