Notebook: Three-point shooting sinks UMass men’s basketball in its loss to Richmond Wednesday
When looking at the Richmond roster, there are two guys that teams must keep in check if they want to slow down the Spiders’ attack. Seniors T.J. Cline and ShawnDre’ Jones have been giving Atlantic 10 opponents fits for the past four seasons.
The Massachusetts men’s basketball team was well aware of that duo’s importance going into Wednesday night’s matchup against Richmond (18-11, 12-5 A-10) and for the most part, UMass (14-16, 4-13 A-10) did a solid job slowing down Cline in the scoring column. While they held the forward to just nine points, the Minutemen had no answer for the senior’s passing ability as he dished out seven assists.
Jones was much harder to contain offensively. The 6-foot guard was potent from behind the arc, shooting 6-for-9 from 3-point range en route to a 26-point performance.
The Spiders roster followed its senior leader’s lead, shooting 57.7 percent from behind the arc, including a 7-for-9 mark in the second half.
“We really didn’t execute offensively against their switching man-to-man defense and then their 3’s were coming from everywhere,” Minutemen coach Derek Kellogg said, following the loss. “I think they were 15-for-26. We just need to do a better job of guarding the 3 and really putting points on the board.”
Three-point shooting has never been a strong suit of UMass and Wednesday night’s game validated that trend. UMass shot just 3-for-17 from 3-point range. Guard Luwane Pipkins accounted for all of the made 3’s.
Senior day sendoff
Wednesday night was Senior Day at the Mullins Center and with that came a pregame celebration for senior forward Zach Turcotte.
With about 30 seconds in the game and the game all but over, Kellogg had a chance to give the walk-on one more chance to feel the rush of playing under the lights on his home court, but elected not to put him at the senior’s request.
“He wanted to get in a little earlier. Cal used to always ask, ‘you want to go in with 30 seconds left’ a lot of times guys say not tonight,” Kellogg said. “I know I have bypassed a few times my freshman year so. I thought it was a good send off for him before the game and he did not really want to go in for the last 20 something seconds.”
What lies ahead
The Minutemen are locked into one of the bottom four spots in the A-10, meaning they will play in the first round of the conference tournament on March 8 in either a 6 or 8:30 p.m. game, depending on how this weekend’s games play out.
Before UMass can set its sights on the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, it has to make a trip to New York to take on St. Bonaventure (18-11, 10-7 A-10) for the last game of the regular season.
Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @aaucoin34.