Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Tre Wood shines in second career game for UMass

Freshman gets 20 more minutes in win over UNH

By Thomas Haines, Assistant Sports Editor

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As the Massachusetts men’s basketball team rolled to a 104-75 win over New Hampshire, freshman Tre Wood enjoyed his first big game under the lights.

After playing just four minutes and missing his only field goal attempt in the season opener against UMass Lowell, Wood stepped up against UNH (1-1), finishing with 11 points and eight assists in 24 minutes for UMass (2-0) on Tuesday night.

“Tre Wood probably was disappointed with how much he played in the first game,” coach Matt McCall said. “Came back and had a couple of unbelievable days in practice, in there late working, getting work in, and he deserved to play well today just with how hard he worked the last couple days.”

Entering in the eighth minute, Wood played all but 41 seconds of the rest of the first half, scoring his first points with the Minutemen on a floater with six minutes to go in the half. Throughout the game, his speed and athleticism helped fuel the UMass offense whenever Luwane Pipkins went to the bench. As UMass went up by 27 points at halftime, Wood got more minutes in the second half and kept the offense hot until the final buzzer.

Wood said that everything was clicking better in his second collegiate game.

“Not just the time but my whole mental capacity was there,” Wood said. “I never let anything affect me this game like I did the last game, so I just played through it and pushed through it.”

There weren’t too many mistakes for Wood to push through — he only lost a single turnover while calmly directing the Minutemen on offense, finishing with eight dimes on the night.

“It’s been my job ever since I started playing, to look to get everyone else involved before I look for myself,” Wood said. “So once I got them the ball, got them rolling, then everything opened up for me. [It’s] just something I’m used to, something I’m used to waiting on, and just advancing further in my basketball career.”

On the defensive end, Wood recorded a steal and showed improvement in his awareness, which McCall attributed to his work in practice against Pipkins.

“He’s got such good feet, he’s so fast, he’s so quick, that sometimes he forgets that when he’s picking the ball up in the middle of the floor, that he’s got to get back once the ball’s across half-court,” McCall said. “He learns every day in practice, because when he picks Luwane up there at half-court, and we set a middle pick-and-roll, it’s good night. Luwane’s down the lane or hitting threes or anything. Listen, Tre’s only going to continue to get better, and the reason he’s going to get better is because he’s got to guard that guy every single day.”

Wood also credited Pipkins for giving him confidence and coaching him up as he entered his freshman year.

“I coach him every day,” Pipkins said. “In practice, off the court, on the court, in the games, I just try to keep him in a positive state of mind so he can be ready to go.”

McCall highlighted Wood’s performance in bouncing back from limited time against UMass Lowell as an example for the rest of the team.

“There may be a game, some of these guys, they come in and play three, four minutes,” McCall said. “There may be a game they play 20, depending how it goes. Can you stay focused on the team? Can you stay focused on hey, we won, we won the game? I may have only played three minutes, but we won the game. My night might be the next night, I’ve got to be ready every single night.

“That’s the message for all these guys.”

Thomas Haines can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @thainessports.

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