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

Increased energy sets tone for UMass basketball in win over La Salle

Nicole Evangelista/Daily Collegian

Nicole Evangelista/Daily Collegian

With Maxie Esho out of the lineup on Wednesday night, there was debate over whether or not the Massachusetts men’s basketball team would have the same energy level without him.

UMass quickly put those questions to bed, coming out in a frenzy, using the 4,345 fans in attendance at Mullins Center to pump itself up en route to a 79-67 win over La Salle.

“It’s something we always shoot for, to start the game well with high energy,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “The crowd was very helpful, I thought, in helping us do that. I thought the way we practiced the last couple days and not being on the road was actually very nice, and not feeling like we were in planes, trains and automobiles for a couple days.”

Explorers’ coach Dr. John Giannini added that he could tell in warm-ups that the Minutemen looked ready to come out with a lot of energy.

Lethargic starts have cost UMass dearly in past games and have been a main reason why the team was in the midst of three losses in four games. The energy and competition level weren’t consistent throughout an entire 40-minute game in those contests, but the Minutemen made sure they came out ready against La Salle.

While UMass didn’t jump out to a huge lead early on, it did set the tone, both defensively and offensively, with its energy, coming away with huge blocks that led to fast-break points on the other end.

Raphiael Putney’s five blocks led all players in the game and was also a career-high for him. In total, the Minutemen had nine blocks that prevented the Explorers from establishing any offensive rhythm and continued to drive UMass’ energy level skyward.

“If we’re going to be good, he’s got to get 11, 12 rebounds, three or four altered shots, and two or three blocks,” Kellogg said.

The Minutemen had the mindset all week in practice that they were going to come out with more intensity and leave their bad stretch of results in the past. UMass did that and, according to Kellogg, the team can use this performance—and intensity level—to propel them forward in the home stretch.

“It was time to reset the deck,” Kellogg said. “They were ready, I was ready and then we all brought energy for a couple days and now I think we’re ready for this last push.”

Now the only question that remains for the Minutemen is to see if they can carry this performance and energy level onto the road. They head out to Rhode Island on Sunday to take on the Rams.

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

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