Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass men’s basketball gets blown out by No. 25 Dayton Wednesday night

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Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

For the second time this season on Wednesday, the Massachusetts men’s basketball team faced off against a top-25 team. And for the second time, the Minutemen left the arena on the short end of a blowout.

UMass (8-6, 1-1 Atlantic 10) suffered its biggest loss of the season Wednesday night against conference rival No. 25 Dayton (12-2, 2-0 A-10) 93-63 at UD Arena. The Minutemen fell behind early, trailed by as much as 31 points in the second half and led for a total of nine seconds.

“They’re probably the best team I’ve seen on tape from our conference and maybe the best team we’ve played other than Providence all season long,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said to reporters following the loss.

The Flyers opened up a 40-24 lead at the half and continued to expand its advantage coming out of the break. The Minutemen then embarked on a mini run toward the midway mark in the second half behind six straight points from senior Trey Davis, but it was quickly squandered by two straight ensuing 3-pointers from Dayton by the 10:34 mark.

“They started the game real comfortable and we started down again,” Davis said. “That’s deflating.”

“We went on a nice run in the second half and it looked like we might get back in the game when Trey missed a top-of-the-key 3 and they made two after that,” Kellogg said. “It wasn’t a great overall game for Jabarie (Hinds), Trey and Donte (Clark). They didn’t really control the contest by any stretch of the imagination.”

Davis (21 points), Clark (21) and Hinds (four) are UMass’ three top scorers for the season. Although Davis and Clark tied for a team-high in points Wednesday, Kellogg said they were not efficient enough on either side of the ball against Dayton.

In particular, Kellogg said he was disappointed with the Minutemen’s defensive performance around the 3-point line, as the Flyers finished 11-of-25 from deep following a 3-of-25 performance from 3-point range last Saturday against Duquesne.

“We didn’t guard the way I like. They got to the rim quite easily and quite too frequently at times,” Kellogg said. “Then we’re known to guard the 3-point line, so for them to shoot 44 percent, it goes against most of our principles and teachings.”

Davis added: “We could’ve got more pressure on the ball (from our guards), we didn’t do that either.”

Dayton’s deep lineup finished with six double-digit scorers, led by guard Charles Cooke (18). Freshman Steve McElvene added 13 points playing down low in the post, including 12 in the first half.

“He’s big, bigger than he looked on tape first and foremost,” Kellogg said of McElvene. “He did a great job controlling the paint there in the first half. When they needed some baskets they were able to throw it down low to him.”

For the Minutemen, Wednesday’s loss matches their lowest scoring output of the season, going back to UMass’ 67-63 loss to Central Florida on Dec. 8. Kellogg attributed the offensive struggles to early turnovers, as the Minutemen finished with 16 giveaways.

“I thought we were trying to make plays that weren’t there, I thought guys were forcing the issue offensively and trying to do a little too much,” Kellogg said. “Instead of going for singles, some guys were going for triples and home runs. We’ll learn to get better from it, it’s always humbling to come off a loss like that but I thought at times we played hard.”

UMass returns to action looking for its second conference victory of the season Saturday afternoon against St. Bonaventure.

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

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