Scrolling Headlines:

UMass football selected to finish fourth in MAC East preseason poll -

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Legislature overrides Baker’s UMass budget cut -

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Report: UMass football’s Todd Stafford arrested Saturday morning in Stamford, Connecticut -

Monday, July 20, 2015

UMass names Molly O’Mara newly-created associate director of athletics for communications and PR -

Monday, July 20, 2015

Baker approves state budget, UMass to receive $5.25 million less than legislature’s proposed figure -

Friday, July 17, 2015

UMass bathroom policy to provide comfort, safety for transgender and non-gender conforming students -

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Long-time UMass professor Normand Berlin, 83, dies -

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

UMass professor and poet James Tate dies at 71 -

Thursday, July 9, 2015

State legislators propose budget, UMass could receive almost $532 million -

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cause of death determined for UMass student Chloe Malast -

Monday, July 6, 2015

Nick Mariano, Zach Oliveri transferring from UMass men’s lacrosse program -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Four months after banning Iranian students from certain graduate programs, UMass announces new measures to ensure compliance with U.S. law -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Justin King sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison -

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two future UMass hockey players selected in 2015 NHL Draft -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court ruling clears way for same-sex marriage nationwide -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Former UMass center Cady Lalanne taken 55th overall by Spurs in 2015 NBA Draft -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Second of four men found guilty on three counts of aggravated rape in 2012 UMass gang rape case -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boston bomber speaks out for first time: ‘I am sorry for the lives I have taken’ -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

King claims sex with woman was consensual during alleged 2012 gang rape -

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wrongful death suit filed in death of UMass student -

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Riley, Esho integral in UMass double-digit victory

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team looked out of whack.

Taylor C. Snow/Collegian

Eastern Michigan was set up in its zone defense, as the Minutemen tried to move the ball around the perimeter to create some sort of offense. But as it turned out, all UMass could muster was an occasional 3-point conversion and a 12-10 deficit.

That was until Freddie Riley checked into the game. From that point on, it was as if the Minutemen were firing up golf balls into the middle of the ocean.

Riley sunk five straight triples to spark a 24-5 Minuteman run midway through the first half to catapult the home team to a 17-point lead; one which it held onto for a 75-61 handling of the Eagles Saturday afternoon at the Mullins Center.

Riley finished 6-of-9 from 3-point range as part of his 18-point afternoon in 23 minutes. Riley’s sharp shooting sparked UMass’ 11-for-25 showing from beyond the arc, including a 9-for-19 pace after he first checked into the game.

“I just wanted to come in and play confident,” Riley said, “and the shots went in, so I just kept shooting.”

Chaz Williams, who assisted on two of Riley’s triples during the run, knows that once Riley is hot, it’s best to keep feeding him while he’s in that zone.

“You gotta get Fred the ball when he’s on fire,” Williams said. “He got a little red match under his feet, and he just kept scoring. And once he get his roll going, you just gotta keep going to him.”

UMass coach Derek Kellogg said it was nice to see Riley go on a “Freddie-Riley-esqe” run, and feels Riley’s development as a complete player has helped earn him more minutes than simply being turned to when he’s knocking down jumpers.

“In years previous, (I put him in) when he was hot to a certain extent; if he makes his first couple, we stay with him,” Kellogg said. “He’s actually becoming a good basketball player. Defensively, he’s really getting after it, I think he’s driving the ball in the paint and being strong. … It really is nice to see a kid mature and grow up and get older and become a better basketball player.”

Lost in Riley’s overload of 3’s was the play of Maxie Esho, who came off the bench to score 13 points on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting, while hauling in nine rebounds. Esho was particularly effective running the baseline against the Eastern Michigan (7-7) zone, as his athleticism made him a mismatch in the paint to go along with his duties at the front of the full-court press.

“Right now, Maxie’s our best pressing guy and if the game is up and down and going, I think he’s very good, and I think I found a spot where I can play him in the zone, which is kind of along that baseline,” Kellogg said.

After the Minutemen (10-3) struggled early against the zone, Kellogg called upon the post players to set high screens for Williams at the top of the key, helping open up more holes under the basket and allowing Esho to capitalize on with easy buckets at the rim.

Esho feels his skill set fits well against the zone, as his athleticism was too much for the Eagles’ big men to handle.

“It was something that Chaz pointed out during the game,” Esho said of running the baseline behind the zone. “He told me to just keep running the baseline, so did Coach.”

Kellogg likes the option of Esho off the bench and feels his athleticism “is what separates him.”

“We go from being not so athletic when we start the game, or an OK athletic team, to when he comes in, all of a sudden we become very athletic,” Kellogg said. “One guy can make a difference with his energy and his ability to get on the front of the press.”

Stephen Sellner can be reached at ssellner@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Stephen_Sellner.

Leave A Comment