Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Derek Kellogg confident in his bench after strong performance against George Mason

Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian
Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

FAIRFAX, Va. – Before the start of the season, Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg consistently reiterated that he couldn’t tell how his lineup rotation would play out.

Sixteen games into the season, he’s found clarity.

For the second straight game, Kellogg relied on members of his bench to play both heavier and more crucial minutes in a critical conference game. And without his suddenly deepened bench, there’s no telling where the Minutemen might be.

“I’m getting a sense and a feel for the team,” Kellogg said.

“The reality of it is I’m starting to feel comfortable with most of the guys. Now we just need a couple of the vets to come out of their own self and just start dominating, then all of a sudden we come out with that next wave and maybe we have something here.”

Kellogg cited foul trouble – UMass forward Maxie Esho fouled out of Sunday’s 66-62 victory over George Mason and center Cady Lalanne’s foul situation is constantly monitored – as a reason for the increase in minutes to role players.

But his confidence in his younger players continues to grow due to their play as well.

Forward Zach Coleman played 23 minutes against the Patriots, while reserve guards Jabarie Hinds (21) and C.J. Anderson (20) also played significant roles. Coleman finished with seven points and five rebounds, while Hinds was second on the team with 11 points. Both were factors in aiding UMass to a 14-5 run to start the second half, which provided them a 51-40 lead.

Kellogg also utilized Tyler Bergantino (14 minutes) and Demetrius Dyson, who scored five points in 12 minutes. At about the six-minute mark in the first half, Kellogg elected to bring in four reserves at once.

“I think he’s got a lot of confidence in us now,” said Coleman of the bench. “That has to do with how we’ve been practicing. We’ve really be competing hard against the first group. Our team, as a whole, we’ve really been competing.

Dyson agreed.

“It comes from practice though,” he said. “We get after it in practice, we push them and he can flip-flop any team and we’re ready to go.”

As Kellogg senses more clarity, players are stepping up in their respective roles. Coleman said Kellogg has outlined specific roles for him to fill.

“When I have a shot, shoot it and make it,” Coleman said. “Rebound, play defense and just bring high energy. That’s what I’ve really been focusing on since conference play started. Having energy, making my shots and things of that nature.”

Both Coleman and Dyson hit 3-pointers against George Mason. Dyson also made significant contributions defensively.

In one stretch in the first half, Dyson went toe-to-toe with George Mason center Shevon Thompson, tying him up and forcing a jump ball which was awarded to the Minutemen. Coleman rewarded Dyson on offense, making an extra pass to Dyson who made a 3-pointer.

Dyson then forced a steal on defense, collecting the loose ball and finding Hinds who made an acrobatic layup. The stretch helped the UMass lead grow from 15-12 to 20-12.

Dyson said those types of “intangibles” plays will help the team in the long run.

“Those things are going to add up and help my team win,” he said. “I may not have to score 40 every night, but if I’m going to get a defensive steal or a tie-up or a rebound that’s going to seal the deal or help us get an extra run or something like that, then that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Odds and ends

– UMass was 8-of-18 on 3-pointers, but seven of those came in the first half.
– Neither team shot well on free throws. UMass was 10-for-17, while George Mason was 15-of-26.
– Every member of the Minutemen played at least 12 minutes.
– George Mason shot just 38 percent from the field.
– UMass had 20 offensive rebounds, a season-high.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *