Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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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

UMass receives strong bench play in win over La Salle

Photo by Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian
Photo by Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

PHILADELPHIA — The starting lineup wasn’t the only adjustment Derek Kellogg made Wednesday night.

The Massachusetts men’s basketball coach inserted freshman guard Donte Clark into the starting lineup for the first time this season, a move which returned guard Jabarie Hinds to his sixth man role.

But Kellogg also cycled through his bench at a much quicker – and successful – rate than earlier in the season. Within the first five minutes, every healthy scholarship player had checked into the game. By game’s end, every member of the Minutemen played at least 11 minutes.

It was a complete, all-around effort.

“I love the way some of my younger guys played today,” Kellogg said. “I’ll probably stick with that starting lineup but I’m not going to play and sub and get guys in and out quickly.”

UMass received a major contribution from freshman guard C.J. Anderson, who played 28 minutes off the bench and grabbed five rebounds, while Zach Coleman played 12 minutes and seldom-used Demetrius Dyson played 11.

Each player made an impact in crucial minutes.

Anderson looked comfortable running the offense at the point guard position – he’s a natural shooting guard – and came up with a steal while UMass led 57-53.

It was Coleman who gave UMass that lead after he buried a corner 3-pointer. Coleman was 2-for-3 on 3-pointers and finished with six points, but he played minutes for forward Maxie Esho when Esho left the game in the second half with a leg cramp.

Dyson provided a number of impact plays. He hit a 3-pointer in the first half to give UMass a 10-7 lead and had a sequence in the second half where he blocked a La Salle layup, then assisted on a UMass basket on the ensuing possession. The Minutemen took a 45-43 lead.

Hinds, who was often the point guard when the reserves were on the floor, thought the entire team played well.

“This is my first year in the (Atlantic 10 Conference) but I know how league play is, every game is a dog fight,” Hinds said. “Everybody contributed tonight and we came out with a nice win on the road.”

Kellogg said he pondered how to implement his cast of reserves, which included junior Tyler Bergantino, on the team bus ride prior to the game. He elected to work them into the lineup individually at the beginning of the game.

“I didn’t know if I was going to do that or I was going to sub all five of them at once,” he said.

“Yesterday or the day before in practice, that group looked really good together. They actually beat the guys in the starting uniforms. So when that happens, you have to feel comfortable with what they’re doing.”

While Bergantino, a junior, has game experience, he’s shown steady improvement this season. He’s spelled starter Cady Lalanne – Bergantino played 16 minutes against La Salle – as Lalanne has battled foul trouble and ineffectiveness and performed well in areas that don’t necessarily show up in the stat sheet.

“His energy and his enthusiasm for the team has been fantastic,” said Kellogg, who lauded Bergantino’s performance in practice as well.

“I thought Tyler did some huge things for us defensively and some things on offense,” he said.

After the game, Kellogg hinted that if UMass is to find success from conference play, the deeper, cycled rotation against La Salle could act as a blueprint.

“We got some great contributions from some young kids and some guys that maybe haven’t played that much,” Kellogg said. “I’m hoping that we get a little bit more of a group effort every time out.”

Mark Chiarelli can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli.

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    Tony DennisJan 8, 2015 at 9:21 am

    good one