Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Notebook: Derek Kellogg mixes up starting lineup in UMass men’s basketball’s loss to George Mason

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(Chris O’Keefe/Daily Collegian)

Coming into Saturday afternoon’s game against George Mason, Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg said he was pondering the idea of mixing up some rotations to get some sort of spark for the struggling Minutemen.

Kellogg held true to his word and started C.J. Anderson in place of Donte Clark, however the shake up in the lineup was of no avail as the Patriots left Mullins Center with a 76-74 win over UMass.

“Donte and I had talked for a little bit, we had a good conversation and I think sometimes when he’s kind of our team leader, you press a little bit and I just wanted to bring him off the bench,” Kellogg said. “I thought it was good to get him playing a little bit more aggressive and more confident.

Clark had started all 21 games this season prior to Saturday, and has been a starter for the Minutemen (12-10, 2-7 Atlantic 10) in 70 of his 86 career games at UMass. Clark started 18 of 32 games his freshman year in 2014-15 and all but one game last season on senior night in place of walk-on Chris Lydon.

“We did something along the same lines at Memphis with a kid Chris Douglas-Roberts, and that kind of got him feeling more confident and comfortable and playing, so that was pretty much it,” Kellogg said.

“I don’t know if that will continue or if we’ll do some different stuff, but shaking it up is not always a bad thing.”

Anderson, who started 11 games last year, finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and an assist in a team-high 35 minutes in his first start of 2016-17.

Containing Moore

After scoring 24 points in the first meeting Jan. 4 in Fairfax, Virginia, the Minutemen held GMU’s (15-7, 4-4 A-10) Marquis Moore to just 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting in 34 minutes played.

Despite being only a 6-foot-2 guard, Moore entered Saturday’s game as the A-10’s leading rebounder averaging 10.9 rebounds per game. He finished with eight Saturday afternoon and also dished out five assists.

Clark and Anderson were the two primary Minutemen responsible for covering Moore.

“What Marquis has been able to do is score and finish at the rim against virtually anyone in our league,” Patriots head coach Dave Paulsen said. “He got deep penetration, it wasn’t any different than George Washington where they just sagged off of him. He had a couple big finishes late in the game and that’s a tribute to him kind of sticking with it.”

“[We tried] to keep him out of the paint. He is one of the better drivers,” Kellogg said of Moore. “He reminds me of a kid Williams, Johnny Williams out of VCU a little bit, they way they can get paint touches. He gets a lot of his off of defensive rebound pushes and I thought we did a good job of containing him.”

“He had a couple of big lay ups in the second half and they were desperate and he made a couple of big time plays,” Kellogg added.

Minutemen set new season-high for blocked shots 

In the middle of answering a question about Moore, Paulsen couldn’t help but marvel at UMass’ ability to have multiple players capable of blocking shots.

The Minutemen recorded a season-high 12 blocked shots against GMU after entering the game leading the conference in blocked shots (109) and were second in blocks per game with 5.2, trailing only Rhode Island.

“They had 12 blocks. I mean my god, they block shots at the rim,” Paulsen said. “And it’s not conventional where the team has a five man that can block shots, they all come in there flying and block shots.”

Center Rashaan Holloway and point guard DeJon Jarreau each finished with three blocks apiece for UMass. Brison Gresham and Ty Flowers also added two blocks while Malik Hines and Clark each added one.

Kellogg, however, still thinks the Minutemen need to improved their interior defense with only nine games remaining before the A-10 tournament.

“I wouldn’t say happy, but I thought we did a pretty good job on [Jalen] Jenkins at times,” Kellogg said. “It was the second chance ones where we blocked it and he grabbed it right back and put it in. I thought that was admirable.”

Andrew Cyr can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.

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