UMass men’s basketball heads to Quinnipiac Wednesday

By Amin Touri

(Caroline O’Connor/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team is on the road this week, heading south to take on Quinnipiac.

The Minutemen (3-3) are coming off a shaky weekend in Brooklyn, dropping matchups with Brigham Young and No. 12 Minnesota, losing the former on a last-second dunk.

“I thought we had a really good day yesterday,” UMass coach Matt McCall said after Tuesday’s practice. “I was pretty concerned about [the team] just being into it. Long bus trip back Saturday, tough loss, game that we thought that we should have won. I thought we had good energy yesterday, I thought the guys were into it, I thought today was just okay.”

McCall mentioned his concerns about the team’s ability to do the little things right, and to take advantage of the time his team has to practice.

“Our margin for error is so small,” he said. “A missed layup here, a loose ball here, a technical foul here because of being undisciplined. Our margin for error is so small right now as a basketball team that our energy and effort every single day has to be there to get better. I thought it was there yesterday, but today it was just okay.”

The Bobcats (1-5) are on a five-game losing streak, winless since their opening night win over Dartmouth on Nov. 11.

“Dangerous team,” McCall said. “Obviously a terrific frontcourt player in [Chaise] Daniels, one of the best we’ve played against all year, can hurt you in a bunch of different ways. Posting up off the block, inside pivoting, playing off the bounce, can do a wide variety of things.”

Daniels, a senior forward, is Quinnipiac’s leading scorer, averaging 16 points per game this season. Senior guard Cameron Young is adding 14.7 points per game, as the two handle the bulk of the Bobcats’ scoring.

The Minutemen saw different zone looks during the weekend trip to Brooklyn for the Barclays Classic, and they expect to see plenty of different schemes on Wednesday.

“They’re going to play a lot of different defenses,” McCall said. “Going to run a jump, going to play a 1-2-2, going to play a 2-3 zone, going to play man-to-man, going to do a little of things to keep you off balance. We can’t overthink it, we have to go play. I think when we see zone we get a little panicked, and we got to go play and attack.”

“It helped us a lot [to see those defenses last week],” senior C.J. Anderson said, “because we haven’t seen that before. It’s a good thing that we’ve seen it earlier in the season, if teams start doing it later. We’ve been working on it in the last couple days, we’re ready to get going.”

Though the Bobcats are on a five-game slide, UMass knows it’ll be facing a hungry team on Wednesday.

“I’m expecting them to come out hard,” Anderson said. “Any team coming off a loss, you expect them to come out ready to play, firing shots, having energy. I’ve just been telling my guys, let’s be aggressive. We come out there, we meet them with it, if they throw a punch we throw it right back.”

Tipoff in Hamden is set for 7 p.m.

Amin Touri can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Amin_Touri.