UMass’ Zach Coleman, C.J. Anderson questionable for Tuesday’s matchup with LIU

By Anthony Chiusano

Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian
Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team received a boost in depth last week with the return of forward Antwan Space after he missed the first 10 games while he dealt with private matters.

But as the Minutemen (6-5) returned to practice following the holiday break, the team encountered another setback as forward Zach Coleman (knee) and guard C.J. Anderson (undisclosed) were both treated for injuries Monday and are considered questionable to play in Tuesday’s game against Long Island University (6-4).

“We’re kind of waiting to see what the prognosis is. It was an interesting day of practice,” Kellogg told reporters Monday. “Zach’s knee was bothering him and then (assistant coach) Andy Allison blew out his Achilles. Then C.J. is also getting looked at it.”

He added: “It was a practice that never really got moving with guys going down with injuries and things of that nature. We’re at a little bit of a wait and see pattern right now.”

Coleman has had previous knee problems and sat out as a medical redshirt for all of his true freshman year at UMass in 2013-14 due to a stress fracture in his foot. Following last season, he underwent surgery on his right knee due to a minor tear in his meniscus.

Kellogg said Coleman and Anderson’s limited participation in Monday’s practice hindered the Minutemen’s ability to work on certain areas of play, especially as Space continues to become more comfortable within UMass’ system.

“I was hoping to have a little more numbers (with Space’s return) and some more energy coming off a nice break,” Kellogg said. “But it didn’t quite work out as planned.”

Space scored 11 points and recorded nine rebounds in 31 minutes – tied for a team-high – in his UMass debut last Monday in a 90-66 blowout loss to then-No. 10 Providence. According to Kellogg, he’s looking for Space to continue to improve and give an offensive boost in his second outing.

“The one thing he’s been able to do, especially overseas (over the summer), was give us another scoring option, who can score around the rim and rebound and can also make some 3s,” Kellogg said. “He can play that stretch four but also play that physical four man, which is nice.

Kellogg added: “It adds one more older, physical guy. It’ll give (Rashaan Holloway) more space to operate.”

Holloway, a freshman, has started all 11 games at center for UMass and is averaging 6.7 points per game. He tallied four points in 14 minutes against the Friars.

Kellogg said he’s looking for greater consistency and development from the 6-foot-11, 335-pound center with Atlantic 10 play in sight. He added that getting in better game shape will also remain a point of emphasis.

“I think opponents, when they look at him, see a tough cover because of his size. On the other end of the floor he still has to make some strides,” he said. “They’re putting him in a lot of ball screens to eliminate his advantage. He’s got to continue to get in better shape, but also realize how big he his and start using his size down low.”

Holloway, Space and the rest of UMass’ front court will be tested often Tuesday by 6-foot-7 Blackbirds junior forward Jerome Frink, who leads LIU with 16.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest.

The Blackbirds also boast a backcourt consisting of two double-digit scorers in Martin Hermannsson (14.9) and Aakim Saintil (14.6).

Tuesday’s matchup will be the Minutemen’s final nonconference game of the season before they head into A-10 play on Sunday against La Salle. Tipoff against LIU will be at 7 p.m. at Mullins Center.

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.