November 23, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Micheletto apologizes to fans, aims to regroup following 11-1 loss -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Vermont throttles UMass hockey 11-1 -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass guard Trey Davis: ‘There’s a lot coming at me right now’ -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass ‘big four’ neutralized by Notre Dame in 81-68 loss -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass basketball can’t corral Grant, Irish in 81-68 loss -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Frustration haunts Minutemen in 5-3 loss to Boston College -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass hockey drops 5-3 decision to No. 12 Boston College Friday night -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass hockey prepares for nationally ranked Hockey East foes BC, Vermont -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Food scientist proposes way to improve health via breast milk -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons shine in ‘Whiplash’ -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Masculinity: A feminist’s perspective -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

UMass women’s basketball uses size and speed en route to its first win against Maine -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why Melissa McBride is the best actor on television -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

‘Gienie’ in a bottle: Patriots, Browns, and Seahawks highlight week 12 picks -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

UMass women’s basketball secures first victory of the season against Maine -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Revisiting ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy as the final installment looms -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Establishing the rules of classroom attendance -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

UMass hockey’s Troy Power reflects as his 100th career game approaches -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sophomore swimmer Meriza Werenski excelling in increased role -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

SGA senator plans survey on bigotry -

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hewitt: Strong inside presence emerging for UMass basketball

Taylor C. Snow/Collegian

When starting shooting guard Jesse Morgan went down for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee on Jan. 10 at Saint Louis, the Massachusetts men’s basketball team’s season took a major turn.

Not only did the Minutemen lose their second leading scorer at the time and, arguably, their best perimeter defender as well, but they also lost perhaps their best 3-point shooter, a part of the offense that has become the team’s staple in recent years.

Immediately, UMass coach Derek Kellogg and his staff knew that something needed to be changed. With only three healthy guards eligible, including inexperienced freshman Trey Davis left as the only one coming off the bench, a shift in the game plan was a necessity.

Enter: Cady Lalanne, Sampson Carter and a stronger emphasis on pounding the post.

A few months ago, I wrote in this space that the Minutemen sorely lacked an inside presence after Lalanne had a poor outing against Miami (Fla.). I also wrote that shooting the 3-pointer was in UMass’ DNA, and the lack of an option in the paint was exposing the flaws of shooting the 3-ball as often as they were.

But in Sunday’s 70-65 victory against Richmond at the Mullins Center, none of that held water. Instead, an honest team effort to feed the hands of big bodies down in the post was the difference in what was one of the biggest wins of the year for UMass.

With a clear size advantage down low, the Minutemen finished with 38 points in the paint as they looked like a team much more reliant on pounding the ball than shooting the 3-pointer.

“We were playing a little bit differently and a little bigger,” Kellogg said. “We threw the ball inside probably as much as we had really since I’ve been here as a coach.”

Given the drastic change in personnel since Morgan’s injury, it was really only a matter of time.

Working with three guards over the course of the game, as well as dealing with Raphiael Putney and Terrell Vinson’s foul trouble, Kellogg was forced to use big lineups that included Maxie Esho, Carter and Lalanne all on the floor at the same time. This  naturally led point guard Chaz Williams to look for options in the post rather than beyond the 3-point line.

The biggest beneficiary was Lalanne, who finished with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting and could have easily had more if he didn’t miss a few point-blank attempts.

Regardless of those misses, though, his presence was strong as he anchored the Minuteman frontcourt and helped them fight back from a seven-point deficit with six minutes, two seconds left in the game.

“That’s just Cady being Cady,” Williams said. “He’s a big kid, he’s a beast, he’s a monster, so whenever you give him the ball, he just puts his body on people and tries to finish.”

As well as Lalanne played, he wasn’t the only big man getting more looks in the post. Carter, the team’s starting center, finished with 10 points, and scored eight of UMass’ first 12 points as the Minutemen jumped out to a 12-3 advantage in the opening minutes of the first half.

“I felt really good,” Carter said. “My teammates did a good job of getting back to me back-to-back. I just caught a good rhythm early and just stayed with it.

“I don’t think that’s the best I can play though.”

Despite putting more of an emphasis on looking inside, UMass wasn’t shy in dialing it up from long range on Sunday as it finished 3-of-15 from beyond the arc. That kind of inconsistency from 3-point range has plagued the Minutemen all year, as they’ve shot a hair over 30 percent from deep through 18 games.

But unlike before, when that kind of shooting may have spelled defeat, it didn’t matter against Richmond. Kellogg would obviously like more of those 3-pointers to go down, but if the game plan going forward is similar to that of Sunday’s, they may not need to.

“Not too many teams in our league have great bigs as big as Cady or as strong and physical,” Williams said. “So it’s going to be a key part for him to be a part of our team and do the things he can do.”

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

Comments
2 Responses to “Hewitt: Strong inside presence emerging for UMass basketball”
  1. tom massetti says:

    Maybe Morgan’s injury is a blesssing in disguise.I’d always
    would rather go inside out than outside in. Lalanne and Carter are capable of this.

  2. paul says:

    Not a chance Morgan’s injury is a blessing. The kid is a scorer and a very good perimeter defender. They will miss him against the iron of the league, VCU, Butler, Temple.

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