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

UMass seeks increased energy as it hosts Fordham

Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian
Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg referred to the time following his team’s loss to Saint Joseph’s Wednesday as a hangover. So what did he prescribe as a cure?

Running. A lot of it.

“Like any hangover from a game where you don’t play as well or don’t win, there’s a few things you’ve got to get out of your system,” Kellogg said Friday.

“Guys did a good job of going hard yesterday. We practiced hard. We worked on our mental focus, we worked on our style of play. Once you hit the floor, I think that’s a little bit of a remedy. It’s the anxiety leading up to it that I think gets everybody a little crazy.”

According to Kellogg, UMass (16-12, 9-6 Atlantic 10) was to practice at a fairly high intensity both days. Following its third straight loss of the season, he wanted his team to remember how to sweat.

The plan is to increase the team’s energy level in preparation for Saturday’s game against Fordham at the Mullins Center, which starts at 4 p.m.

“Run as fast as you can, as hard as you can, for a while,” Kellogg said. “That’s something that we didn’t do well enough (against Saint Joseph’s).

A quick glance at Fordham’s (9-17, 4-11 A-10) overall record doesn’t inspire much of a spike in energy. But a closer look at the Rams reveal a team trending upwards at the right time.

Fordham’s won three of its last four games and all three of those wins have been double-digit victories. The Minutemen edged Fordham already this season, 78-72, but trailed by as many as nine points before finding their bearings.

The Rams are led by freshman Eric Paschall, who is averaging 16.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. But steadier play from guard Mandell Thomas (12.6 points per game) and forward Christian Sengfelder (11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds per game) is providing a boost.

“It’s been a tough time to play a lot of teams, but they’re playing especially well,” Kellogg said. “Watching them on tape, it looks like a completely different team than we saw earlier. I think they’ve matured.

“You don’t want them to get hot, get confidence and start making a bunch of 3s.”

The easiest way to avoid that is a strong initial start at home – something which requires energetic play.

“I know it’s late in the season but I think we’re all starting to buy in and trying to figure out what’s going on and why we’re not winning,” UMass guard Demetrius Dyson said.

“I just feel like we’re not bringing enough energy. So that’s what (Kellogg’s) tried to bring out of us the last few days of practice and today. Because we’ve been doing everthing – the numbers are there. We’re rebounding, doing different things, but we’re just not bringing enough energy as far as being happy for each other.”

Dyson’s one of the few players who has provided a spark in the last two games with his scoring and athleticism. He’s averaging 12 points and 8.5 rebounds in 27.5 minutes per game, all of which are stark increases over his season averages of 3.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 10.3 minutes per game.

According to Kellogg, he’s playing at a level which warrants an increased role. Dyson said he’s trying to make an impact which rubs off in the win/loss column.

“If I have to do more or whatever it is to buy in – I’ll try to be more of a leader because we really don’t have a big leader right now,” Dyson said. “I’m up for anything, whatever it is to help my team win.”

For a team in the midst of a losing skid and the end of the season drawing close – a lift from anybody will do.

“Anybody can be a leader,” Dyson said.

“It doesn’t matter what year you are. Even during the game I try to bring a little more energy because it seems like we’re kind of dead on the court sometimes.

“Yeah it is,” said Dyson when asked if that was surprising, given the time of year.

“I know we’re a young team, but I feel like it’s not too late for us to go out and do some great things. I think we if fine tune those little things – it’s just energy. It’s nothing like we can’t make a shot or we can’t make a play, it’s just energy.

“If we bring energy I feel like the sky is the limit for us.”

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

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 *