Hoops travel to RU

Fresh off a heartbreaking 98-92 double overtime loss at the hands of archrival Temple Wednesday night, there will be no rest for the weary Massachusetts men’s basketball team as it will fly further south to conclude what has been a disappointing season at Atlantic 10 rival Richmond on Saturday.

Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. at the Robins Center in Richmond, Va. and will be broadcast locally on New England Sports Network.

The Minutemen (10-17, 4-11 A-10) will look to build off a solid effort against the Owls that saw all five starters in double figures, including 23 points from sophomore forward Jeff Viggiano, 18 points and eight assists from freshman guard Art Bowers and 17 points, and five assists from junior captain Anthony Anderson.

UMass also hopes to reproduce what was its finest shooting night of the season from behind the arc, as six players combined to shoot 18 of 40 on 3 pointers. Among them were Anderson (5 of 9), Bowers (4 of 9) and Viggiano (4 of 8). For the game, UMass shot better from three (45%) than it did from inside the 3 point line (44.4%).

Despite having a relatively quiet night offensively on Wednesday with just 10 points, sophomore forward Rashaun Freeman also managed 12 rebounds against the Owls as he continues to make a strong push for A-10 Rookie of the Year. On the season, No. 1 averages 15.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest.

The Spiders (17-11 9-6 A-10), who joined the A-10 prior to the 2001-02 season and own a 2-1 record all time against UMass, will be facing the Maroon and White for the only time in what has been a solid campaign under first-year head coach Jerry Wainwright.

Highlighted by a stunning 69-98 win over No. 12 Kansas at Phog Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 22 that snapped the Jayhawks 52 game home winning streak, Wainwright’s first season after arriving from UNC-Wilmington has the Spiders currently tied with Xavier for third place in the A-10 West Division.

Forward Mike Skrocki has emerged as one of the top offensive players in the A-10 in 2004, as his 16.3 points per game average is good for ninth in the conference and his 1,336 career points place him 15th all-time in program history. Boasting a career scoring average of 11.0 points per game, Skrocki has come on strong during his senior season, dropping double-figure scoring outputs in all 28 games to date.

Dobbins, meanwhile, is just 15 steals shy of Greg Beckwith’s school record and continues to be regarded as one of the conference’s – as well as the nation’s – premier defensive players.

A former Virginia Tech-transfer, Dobbins has also had success on the offensive end, as he needs just 24 points to reach 1,000 in his UR career and has scored 1,101 total for his college career – none bigger than his game – winning fade away jumper with one second remaining that downed Kansas.