Scrolling Headlines:

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

Minutemen third, Minutewomen finish fifth in Atlantic 10 Championships for UMass track and field -

May 8, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse wins A-10 title for ninth straight season -

May 8, 2017

Dayton takes two from UMass softball in weekend series -

May 8, 2017

UMass men’s basketball heads to Eastern Michigan after eight-day layoff

Nicole Evangelista/Daily Collegain

It’s been eight days since the Massachusetts men’s basketball team last played a game.

And while everything has been smooth sailing for UMass to start the season, it must now prepare for its first true road test of the year when it takes on Eastern Michigan on Tuesday night. On top of that, the Minutemen (6-0) must try to shake off the rust that goes along with an extended layoff.

“They all came back (from the break) a little sluggish,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said to reporters. “I’ve been trying to get them back into playing the way we’re supposed to play with the energy we’re supposed to play.”

Redshirt sophomore Derrick Gordon was quick to agree with his coach’s observation.

“We all noticed it the first day of practice, how sluggish we were,” he said. “Most of us went home and we were off our feet for three to four days. But we’re getting back into it.”

The team took the opportunity to go home for the Thanksgiving break, spending time with friends and family. But UMass is looking forward to getting back to action and continuing the impressive start to the season.

“It gave me time to rest my body, rest my back and my knee,” Cady Lalanne said. “And it feels pretty good getting back into action now. I couldn’t wait to get back to practice, and I know a lot of guys on the team feel the same way. I can’t wait to play again.”

However, UMass won’t ease back into action. It is preparing for its first road game of the season, going up against a tough Eagles (5-1) team. Eastern Michigan opened the season with five straight wins before losing to Kentucky 81-63 on Nov. 27.

The Eagles don’t have the same marquee wins as the Minutemen, but have been impressive in their victories. Three of their five wins have been by at least 12 points and have been composed late in close games.

In order for UMass to pick up where it left off at the Charleston Classic, it needs to do what it does best — play with energy.

When the Minutemen play with energy, they’ve proven to be one of the toughest teams in the country to play against. In its upset victory over then-No. 19 New Mexico, UMass used a 16-0 run to pull away late, getting out and running on offense, while pressuring the Lobos into taking ill-advised 3-pointers.

Energy will once again be the key for the Minutemen Tuesday night. Eastern Michigan only averages 76.5 points per game, while only shooting about 46 percent from the floor, meaning that a fast-paced game from UMass will pressure the Eagles into taking tough shots and making them uncomfortable.

“We’re an energy team and if we play with energy, good things happen,” Kellogg said. “We may not always make the right pass, the right shot or the right play, but if we bring energy and play with some toughness, we have a chance.”

Tuesday will also be the first of four games that the Minutemen will play this season against Mid-American Conference opponents. This is part of the agreement the school made with the NCAA when the football team moved to the MAC as members of the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

Patrick Strohecker can be reached at pstrohec@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @P_Strohecker.

Leave A Comment