UMass basketball falters late in 71-63 loss to Davidson

By Andrew Cyr

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

All it takes is a single spark to ignite a fire.

And unfortunately for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team, it was a missed opportunity — a loose ball rebound that it failed to grab — that prevented the Minutemen from lighting the kindling branches and sticks in their 71-63 loss to Davidson on Wednesday night.

Leading 59-57, Cady Lalanne blocked Jordan Barham’s layup as UMass quickly looked to turn up court to create a fast break opportunity. However, all five Minutemen stared and watched as Barham tracked down the ball and found Brian Sullivan wide-open in the corner to give the Wildcats the lead for good, 60-59. After a Lalanne turnover on the offensive end, Tyler Kalinoski finished the layup despite getting fouled by Jabarie Hinds, extending the Davidson lead to 63-59. The Wildcats never looked back.

“That particular run wasn’t very fortuitous for us,” UMass (9-8, 2-2 Atlantic 10 Conference) head coach Derek Kellogg said. “It wasn’t very good.”

“I thought we could have had them. All we had to do was grab a couple rebounds and I thought the game would have been ours,” Lalanne said.

Although Davidson (12-3, 3-1 A-10) prides itself as a team that thrives off making outside shots, the Wildcats shot just 41.3 percent from the field and 24.1 percent on 3-pointers, to which head coach Bob McKillop attributed the Minutemen defense from preventing open looks.

Davidson finished with four players in double-figures – Brian Sullivan (14), Kalinoski (14), Peyton Aldrige (13) and Jack Gibbs (13).

Lalanne led the Minutemen with 17 points and 13 rebounds, however it was Demetrius Dyson’s 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, and 2-of-3 from behind the 3-point line that gave UMass bursts of energy from off the bench.

It was Dyson who ended a nine minute, 55 second drought in the first half where it failed to score a field goal in the midst of a 14-1 run with a 3-pointer.

Kellogg credited the lack of scoring to a combination of both poor execution on offense and the Wildcats’ ability to defend.

“It’s a league game and I thought both teams scouted pretty well and did a nice job at times defensively. You have to put the ball in the basket. It’s not an easy game, but it’s a game where, at the end of the day, you can do all your stuff and if you’ve got a play, you’ve got to make it,” Kellogg said.

The Minutemen’s best stretch came 2:30 into the second half when they went on an 8-0 run to give them a 40-36 lead after layups from Trey Davis, Maxie Esho and two from Derrick Gordon that were caused by their full-court pressure.

Davis and Gordon each finished with 10 points apiece while Esho chimed in with eight points and 11 rebounds.

Aside from Dyson, Hinds’ contributed with six points, as the two were the only players to score off the bench for the Minutemen.

For UMass, it was missed opportunities in the second half that prevented them from stealing the game.

“There were a lot of plays throughout the second half where I thought we had a chance to pull away and we made some tough offensive plays that just didn’t work out. We need to rectify those to win against the better teams in our league,” Kellogg said.

Andrew Cyr can be reached at [email protected], and can be followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.