Cady Lalanne, Clyde Santee shine for UMass in win over NIU
Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg’s mentioned his desire to extend his bench on numerous occasions throughout the season.
And while Saturday’s 80-54 victory over Northern Illinois will be largely regarded as a relatively miniscule blip on a much larger national radar for the Minutemen, Kellogg finally had an elongated chance to see what his freshmen could do in various game situations.
Clyde Santee didn’t let the opportunity slip away.
An extended second half lead – UMass (9-0) led by as many as 27 points in the latter stages of the half – allowed Kellogg to go to his bench, so Demetrius Dyson, Seth Berger and Clyde Santee, all freshmen, saw lengthy minutes for the first time this year. But it was Santee who thrilled the Mullins Center faithful.
Santee scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in six minutes of playing time. He tallied his first career points and made the first basket scored by any freshman this season. He showed a penchant for quick offense in a limited role.
“I was really happy for Clyde that he made some shots, played well in a short amount of time and got us our fifth guy in double-digits tonight,” Kellogg said.
For Santee, Saturday’s game offered an opportunity to finally showcase his ability.
“It definitely feels good,” Santee said. “I was just thankful coach gave me the time that I got. I just wanted to go out there and do what I had to do.”
UMass led for all but 80 seconds of the game, aggressively jumping out to a 19-5 lead thanks in large part to forward Raphiael Putney. The senior forward spearheaded the run with three 3-pointers and a dunk, pushing the energy in the opening stretch.
But it was center Cady Lalanne who sustained much of the offensive play, anchoring down in the post and supplying 13 first half points in 15 minutes of play. Lalanne scored nine straight points at one point and finished with a game-high 17 points. The Minutemen ran various different looks in the half court designed to feature Lalanne in the offense.
“We’re a better team when Cady can give us a couple baskets down low,” Kellogg said. “The plan was to get him involved, really work to catch the ball in the post and make some plays.”
UMass played far from a perfect game, committing 12 turnovers and allowing the Huskies (3-5) to hang around. The Minutemen led 40-28 at halftime and NIU cut the deficit to 41-33 with 16:24 to play.
Both teams plodded through the end of the first half and early stages of the second half. Kellogg said the team left opportunities to score out on the floor and could still clean up some areas of its game, specifically taking care of the basketball.
“That’s definitely stuff that we want to clean up,” Lalanne said. “(We) can keep breaking it down in film and show us the mistakes that we make so little mistakes like that is something simple we can clean up.”
Trey Davis and Maxie Esho provided a much-needed boost of energy in the second half. Davis hit his first 3-pointer of the day to push the lead to 50-35. A Lalanne steal on the ensuing defensive possession initiated transition offense in the other direction, resulting in an Esho alley-oop off a touch pass from Putney. Esho scored seven points in the second half and tied his season-high of 12.
UMass shot 50 percent from the floor and had five players score at least 12 points. Chaz Williams was the only player to play over 30 minutes, tallying 12 points and seven assists on 3-of-9 shooting in 31 minutes.
Mark Chiarelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli.