Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Notebook: UMass men’s basketball’s Donte Clark named Atlantic 10 co-player of the week

By Andrew Cyr

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(Katherine Mayo/Collegian)

After enduring some lulls earlier this season in conference play, Massachusetts guard Donte Clark was named the Atlantic 10 co-player of the week after averaging 27 points per game in the Minutemen’s two matchups against Rhode Island and Saint Joseph’s.

Clark continued his scoring surge with a game-high 24 points in UMass’ 87-76 win on Saturday over the Hawks. The win for the Minutemen (13-12, 3-9 A-10) snapped a five-game losing streak that stretched over three weeks between mid-January and early February.

Against URI at Mullins Feb. 7, Clark tied a career-high 30 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field and 13-of-16 from the free-throw line.

“I’m happy for Donte. This has been a year where he’s trying to do what I’ve been asking him to do on both ends of the floor,” Kellogg said in his weekly A-10 conference call Monday morning.

“For him to be able to score the ball the way I know he can and play the way I’d like him to lead this team was good to see,” he added. “I think he gave us the guy that we can go to make the plays when the games are tough.”

Prior to coming off the bench for the first time all season in UMass’ loss to George Mason Jan. 25, Clark had failed to score in double-digits in four of the Minutemen’s previous six games dating back to Jan. 7 against Virginia Commonwealth—going 2–4 in that span.

“He’s playing better basketball and sometimes your stats suffer,” Kellogg said.

Kellogg goes back to Seth Berger

In the Minutemen’s win over St. Joe’s, Kellogg once again shuffled the starting rotation and returned to his most successful combination, the same five he started the season with.

For the 10th time in 2016-17, Kellogg started Clark, Luwane Pipkins, DeJon Jarreau, Seth Berger and Rashaan Holloway, the first time since UMass’ loss against St. Bonaventure Dec. 30.

The Minutemen have gone 8-2 in games with that starting lineup, which was primarily used early in the season during non-conference play. They won games against UMass Lowell, Holy Cross, Pacific, North Carolina A&T, Kennesaw State, Rider, Georgia State and St. Joe’s, with two losses coming against Providence and the Bonnies.

Berger returned to the starting five and scored four points in 14 minutes against the Hawks, marking the third straight game he’s played at least 14 minutes. In the eight games as a reserve between starts, Berger played double-digit minutes just twice.

“I thought against La Salle, Seth gave us great energy about a week and a half ago,” Kellogg said. “He came in during the Rhode Island game and I thought it made an immediate difference.”

“I just like having his size out there to start the game. He can probably matchup better than anyone we have with a perimeter and also as kind of an inside guy.”

Kellogg also accredited Berger’s selfless, team-first approach as another reason for bringing the redshirt junior back into the starting lineup.

“I thought we lacked a little bit of older leadership out there in a few of the games. He just brings a different dynamic that I like. He has a good attitude and he’s a guy that I like.

“He’s not really a shot taker, which is one less guy that maybe will pull a shot early in the shot clock,” Kellogg added.

Given the amount of injuries at different times, along with Brison Gresham missing time while awaiting his eligibility status from the NCAA, Kellogg has used six different starting rotations this season.

However, don’t expect much change moving forward with the A-10 tournament right around the corner.

“I kind of like [Berger] in our starting lineup moving forward,” Kellogg said.

What’s in store this week

UMass will travel to western Pennsylvania for a mid-week matchup against Duquesne in Pittsburgh Wednesday night.

The Dukes (9-16, 2-10 A-10) rank last in the A-10 and are currently riding an eight-game losing streak. Their last win was over a month ago, Jan. 11, against Saint Louis at home.

“They have a good roster. I think they have some younger guys that are playing well now. They can kind of attack you in a lot of different ways,” Kellogg said. “They’ve played really well in a lot of games and have been right there with some of the top teams.”

Wednesday’s game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. and will be streamed on the A-10’s Facebook page, found

The Minutemen will return home Saturday to face Davidson at noon at Mullins.

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

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