Rashaan Holloway leads UMass men’s basketball in scoring with 21 points in the Minutemen’s opening game victory

By Philip Sanzo

(Christina Yacono/ Daily Collegian)
(Christina Yacono/ Daily Collegian)

Rashaan Holloway’s highest scoring game last season came against Boston University when he put up 18 points en route to a 99-69 victory. He wasted no time eclipsing that this season.

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team defeated UMass Lowell in the season and home opener 90-76 with Holloway scoring a team-high 21 points.

Though he only played 17 minutes, the sophomore center made his presence known in many facets of the game.

“That’s exactly the kind of player I want to be, except that I make all of my free throws. That’s it,” Holloway said.

Holloway outweighed UMass Lowell’s biggest starter Tyler Livingston by 105 pounds and used every ounce of it to his advantage Friday. River Hawks coach Pat Duquette felt there was nothing much his team could do against Holloway.

“Yea, and I think for us it was just kind of emotional like ‘hey what can we do against this guy, he is so much bigger than us,’” Duquette said. “I don’t think that was as impactful for the first half, as us not taking care of the basketball. Even though they did go into them a bunch and he had 15 points and he was only 8 for 13 from the free throw line so not totally efficient but there is not much we could have done about some of those things. He’s much bigger than our guys.

Holloway was able to draw multiple fouls allowing him to attempt 14 free throws, nine of which he made.

“I feel so much better when I shoot,” Holloway said. “I go to the line with more confidence. I just go to the line and try to knock them both down and get back on D.”

Holloway made 23-of-58 attempted free throws last season, a percentage of 39.7.

Despite scoring 21 points, arguably Holloway’s most exciting play was when he blocked Logan Primerano attempted layup with his finger tips with 7 minutes left in the first half.

“I thought he started to establish the paint on both sides of the floor,” coach Derek Kellogg said. “Obviously offensively, and then when he can give us some presence defensively, not only did it give our guys some confidence that they can continue the pressure but I thought the crowd really enjoyed that block and I thought our bench really got into it.”

That was only the first of Holloway’s three blocks. The last of which came near the end of the second half when Rinardo Perry attempted a shot from the left corner. Standing at 6-foot-11 Holloway barely needed to leave the ground to block the 6-foot-4 guards jumper.

Plays such as this show Kellogg Holloway’s improvement as a basketball player.

“And those are the plays that are really basketball players plays, instead of coaching stuff,” Kellogg said. “So it was good to see and I think as he continues to get into better shape by play playing real games he’s going to do that more often.”

Holloway’s time was limited to only 17 minutes, playing only five in the second half.

“I probably should have played him more,” Kellogg said. “That might have been a mistake on my part. I like the way Chris Baldwin was doing some things and Malik (Hines) knee’s been in and out a little bit so he needed some in-game action. Then Rashaan, at times, he sat for a while and I didn’t want to have him recharge his engine, he was down there stretching for like nine minutes on the baseline. I want to make sure he’s healthy and ready to go.”

At one point in the second half, the Minutemen led by as much as 26 points, making Holloway’s presence not as crucial as it was in the first half.

However, 17 minutes is higher than the 11.7 he was averaging last season.

Kellogg was pleased with how Rashaan and other players responded to a few mismatches that the River Hawks presented.

“To see Rashaan and Donte (Clark) do the things they did for us against a good team,” Kellogg said. “That team had six returning players from a team that played really well down the stretch last year. I think they’re going to be very good in their conference, so that was a good test for us with some tough mismatches for say Rashaan or even CJ (Anderson) at the four.”

Philip Sanzo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo.