Scrolling Headlines:

: Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

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

UMass men’s basketball getting production throughout the roster

The No. 22 Massachusetts men’s basketball team doesn’t quite fit the new mold that is becoming men’s Division I college basketball.

The Minutemen don’t boast a lineup filled with superstar freshmen or potential NBA lottery picks. Instead, they are doing things the old fashioned way, with an experienced lineup that doesn’t rely on just one player to lead the way.

And maybe that is exactly why this year’s team is off to one of the best starts in program history and nationally ranked for the first time in 15 years.

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

“I think that (experience) brings you closer, makes you like a close-knit team,” junior Cady Lalanne said. “We all know each other’s game and have good chemistry with each other. What’s their go-to move. What they are like. Where they like the ball.”

One could argue that Chaz Williams was a one-man offensive show at times for UMass last season. But this year is different. Instead of Williams trying to do it all by himself, it’s up in the air every game as to who will lead the Minutemen in scoring. Through eight games, every starter has led the team in scoring at least once, with every starter averaging in double-digit points per game.

“I would say there’s a combination of a lot of things,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “A lot of guys have improved. We’ve had some different guys inserted into the lineup that have changed the complexion of the team, whether it’s Trey (Davis), Derrick Gordon, or a guy like Sampson (Carter) is playing good basketball.”

Every game, someone new steps up. Whether it’s Lalanne leading the charge with rebounds, Davis coming off the bench to hit crucial 3-pointers, or Maxie Esho upping the team’s energy by playing aggressive defense, the Minutemen have players that do the little things that don’t show up in the box score.

“Everybody is just ready,” Williams said. “Coach instilled in us to be ready at all times and I think our guys are doing that. We got that type of team that any given night, it can be any guy going off for 30 (points).”

While every player has had a hand in helping UMass get off to a perfect 8-0 start, Kellogg and the other players have been quick to defer all praise to Williams, the team’s leader.

“I think Chaz is doing a very, very good job of getting everybody involved with distributing the basketball and picking his spots to score,” Kellogg said.

That unselfish play was on full display Saturday, when Williams finished with a career-high in points (32) and assists (15) in the Minutemen’s 105-96 win over Bringham Young. Following the game, Williams said the assists total is what impressed him most and that he has always taken more pride in distributing the basketball rather than scoring it.

That mindset has made the team better so far this season and it’s made Williams a more efficient player through the first month of the season.

“I know any given play, I can give it to my teammates and they can do the same thing that I can do just as well,” Williams said. “It’s just all about having confidence in my teammates and just playing basketball.”

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

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