Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Offensive woes frustrate UMass in loss to Richmond

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(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

Fans in search of quality offensive basketball hopefully steered clear of the Mullins Center Wednesday night.

Before the game, UMass coach Derek Kellogg said the Massachusetts men’s basketball team and Richmond featured offensive schemes that worked in different ways.

But there would be very little in the way of scoring in the Spiders’ 56-53 victory over the Minutemen Wednesday night at Mullins Center.

Richmond shot 40.7 percent, made only 3-of-17 3-pointers and committed nine turnovers. It was still better than UMass’s performance, as the Minutemen responded with a 40.4 shooting percentage, made 2-of-14 3-pointers and committed 17 turnovers.

Spiders coach Chris Mooney said it wasn’t the prettiest of games. Kellogg went one step further.

“I wouldn’t say either team was an offensive juggernaut tonight,” Kellogg said. UMass’ offensive woes were magnified in the second half. The Minutemen shot 33 percent over the final 20 minutes, made only one field goal over the first 12 minutes of the half and relied on free throw shooting to remain close.

“When we don’t shoot the 3 and have some ill-advised turnovers that lead to easy baskets, we’ve struggled some,” Kellogg said. “We struggled to score. We need to try to get into the high 70s for us to be the team that I really want to be.”

Even then, UMass cut the deficit to 48-46 with one minute, 40 seconds left after Donte Clark converted on an and-one play. But Richmond answered offensively on a layup by ShawnDre’ Jones, Minutemen guard Trey Davis proceeded to miss a layup on offense and the Spiders scored again in transition.

It created what was, on this night, an insurmountable six-point lead.

Frustration on the UMass sideline was evident throughout the night, and it nearly boiled over with 14:16 left in the half.

Trailing 33-27 and in desperate need of an energy infusion, Minutemen guard Jabarie Hinds appeared to make a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the deficit in half as the shot clock expired. The officials thought otherwise, ruling Hinds’ attempt was tardy.

A livid Kellogg ditched his suit jacket, frantically storming down his sideline as he pleaded his case with the officials. The call stood, much to Kellogg’s dismay.

“I’m not going to elaborate too much,” said Kellogg on his frustration. “Things weren’t going exactly the way I would have liked it in a lot of different fronts. I kind of wanted to show my displeasure to some different people.”

Was it the most frustrated he’s been in a while?

“Yes, in a long time,” he said. “Absolutely.”

Richmond responded with four straight points. And without a go-to offensive scoring option, the Minutemen toiled throughout the middle parts of the half.

On Senior Night, senior Cady Lalanne led UMass with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Yet he scored just four points and attempted only one field goal in the second frame. Luckily, the Minutemen received a 12-point scoring outburst from Clark in the second half to remain in the game.

But UMass’ offense never took off, instead plodding through offensive possessions. The Minutemen made a conscious effort to pound the ball to Lalanne and Maxie Esho in the post, which worked in Richmond’s favor.

“We were so worried about Lalanne, he’s such a good player,” Mooney said. “I think they were committed to throwing him the ball and we really had so much emphasis on being in and trying to surround him. I thought it played into our advantage.

“I thought because they were so committed to throwing it in, it helped us disrupt their rhythm.”

Combined with a porous shooting percentage from outside, the Minutemen struggled to generate any type of offense.

There was frustration, inefficiency and a lack of made shots. And it all culminated in the lowest scoring performance of the season.

The loss drops UMass into sixth place in the Atlantic 10 Conference, one game behind Richmond and one game ahead of George Washington. The Minutemen face the Colonials Saturday in their season finale Saturday.

“We had a few plays that just didn’t happen for us,” Kellogg said. “We’ll try to get ready for GW and try to get a little momentum going for Brooklyn.”

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

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