Scrolling Headlines:

UMass football boasts young, balanced rushing attack going into 2016 season -

August 9, 2016

UMass football looks to add more size, depth on defensive side heading into 2016 -

August 9, 2016

UMass football gets back in action with start of training camp -

August 9, 2016

UMass football coach Mark Whipple announces Ross Comis as starting quarterback, transfer Andrew Ford close behind -

August 8, 2016

Amherst PD to encourage registering off-campus parties with implementation of Party Smart Registration program -

July 23, 2016

UMass Board of Trustees votes 11-2 to raise tuition and fees an average of 5.8 percent -

July 14, 2016

Mike Stone announces retirement following 2017 season -

July 13, 2016

‘Warcraft’ delivers a likeable mess -

July 5, 2016

Former UMass field hockey coach Carla Tagliente accepts job at Princeton -

June 29, 2016

50 Activists attend meeting as UMass Board of Trustees approves motion of divestment from fossil fuel companies -

June 16, 2016

Four former Minutemen depart from UMass hockey program -

June 14, 2016

Boston Calling 2016 delivers rousing farewell to City Hall Plaza -

June 2, 2016

Sufjan Stevens unearths quirk at Boston Calling -

June 2, 2016

The Collegian live tweets Boston Calling -

May 28, 2016

UMass baseball finishes season with sweep over George Mason -

May 22, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse falls in NCAA quarterfinal -

May 22, 2016

‘Green Room’ is a bloody blast of survival horror -

May 21, 2016

DaLuz: Boston Celtics stuck trudging in the mud -

May 18, 2016

Despite tallying double-digit hits, UMass baseball falls to Fairfield Tuesday afternoon -

May 17, 2016

Radiohead returns to the top with gorgeous, illuminating ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ -

May 16, 2016

UMass men’s basketball travels to Philly to take on red-hot La Salle

For Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg, it’s been the same storyline heading into each Atlantic 10 Conference tilt this season: Every game is a measuring stick to gauge the Minutemen’s position in the conference.

Cade Belisle/Collegian

Wednesday night’s tip-off at red-hot La Salle is certainly no exception, as UMass (13-5, 3-2 A-10) takes on the Explorers (14-5, 4-2 A-10) in Philadelphia. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m., and can be listened to on the radio on WEEI Springfield (105.5 FM).

La Salle enters the affair fresh off back-to-back upsets at Virginia Commonwealth and at home against Butler – two ranked teams in the upper echelon of the A-10.

Kellogg said his players are aware that Wednesday’s game could potentially become a statement game for his squad, especially considering the splash the Explorers have made on the national level.

“I think these guys are college basketball fans. They know,” Kellogg said before practice on Monday. “They knew that Richmond had beaten VCU before they came here and I think they understand that La Salle has beaten Butler and VCU. If it’s a slip of the tongue by me, that’s something that could probably happen too.”

UMass has struggled greatly at La Salle in recent memory, losing its only four games at Tom Gola Arena with Kellogg at the helm. Last year, the Minutemen dropped an 82-75 decision to the Explorers on Jan. 8, 2012, as part of a 0-2 showing against its conference foe last season.

Junior point guard Chaz Williams remembers all last year’s loss at La Salle all too well, and said the rest of the team is riled up at the chance to come out of Philadelphia with a different result this time around.

“Losing to those guys last year left a bad taste in our mouth,” Williams said.

Kellogg knows Tom Gola is a tough place to play, and hopes his players remember what happened when they came up short there last year.

“If they don’t, I’m going to remind them, just to let them know that this is a tough place to go in and play,” Kellogg said.

The Explorers have continued to shine at home, winning their last eight affairs as part of their 9-1 pace at home this season.

Kellogg said a big factor in the Minutemen’s struggles against La Salle is the two teams’ similar playing styles – both sides rely heavily on ball pressure and strong guard play, which neutralizes the effectiveness of UMass’ swarming full-court pressure since La Salle is used to practicing against it. As he calls it, “it’s just a UMass-La Salle thing.”

“Their defensive pressure and the way they can switch everything and really get out and create havoc and turnovers I think is really what makes them better than even their offense,” Kellogg said before practice on Monday. “I’ve been pretty impressed watching them on tape of how they play defensively. Even more so at home, and then they prove us wrong by going to do the same thing at VCU.”

Senior Ramon Galloway headlines a guard-heavy Explorers roster. Galloway leads the team with his 17.2 points per game, while junior Tyreek Duren chips in with 14.5 points per game.

Meanwhile, the Minutemen are fresh off their 70-65 win over Richmond on Sunday, in which they held the Spiders without a field goal for the final 6 minutes, 24 seconds of the game. UMass closed out the game on a 14-2 run and stole a crucial victory in conference play.

Sluggishly coming out of halftime plagued the Minutemen once again in the win, as they blew a five-point halftime lead when Richmond stormed out of the break with a 19-8 spurt to take a six-point edge.

Williams knows digging themselves out of such a hole will be more difficult at La Salle.

“It’ll be really key for us,” Williams said, “to get off to a strong start there, especially in the second half, to come out with great intensity, play great defense in the second half, and just go from there.”

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

Leave A Comment