Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Turnovers, easy buckets sink UMass against South Carolina

Minutemen outscored 52-22 in the paint
Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

To quote Matt McCall: it was like layup drill.

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team took its fourth consecutive loss in an 84-80 defeat to South Carolina on Wednesday, and with the Gamecocks (6-3) finding easy layup after easy layup, the Minutemen (5-4) put themselves in a hole too deep to dig out from.

McCall stuck with the press defense and UMass kept getting burned, with South Carolina finding a way to break the press for an easy bucket time and time again. The Gamecocks finished with a 52-22 advantage in the paint, with a significant number of those points coming after press breaks that led to 2-on-1 and 3-on-1 opportunities.

“We were in the wrong spots and they did a good job inbounding quickly, and it was like, two passes, layup,” McCall said. Our even-man front press was good for us, we got some steals, we got some good looks, we didn’t give up anything, then we switched to an odd front and gave up layups back-to-back possessions and I thought they were huge possessions in the game.”

The easy baskets were momentum killers. UMass would finally start to make a run, Carl Pierre would hit a big three, Sy Chatman would throw down a huge alley-oop; a quick inbound and two passes later, and South Carolina had a layup. The Minutemen had their rotational issues, and the Gamecocks made the right pass every time and killed them.

Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

“I think it was a combination of both,” McCall said. One thing they did a good job [with] was inbounding the ball quickly and racing it up the floor and attacking. Against their press, I was trying to get our guys to attack, but the couple times we did it, we either got layups, Tre found Sy for a dunk — we press every day in practice, let’s attack. I thought we made some mistakes, but you have to give them credit, because they did move the ball; but a lot of it was on us, too.

We kept telling our guys, when they throw it to [Alanzo] Frink, when they throw it to Maik [Kotsar], do not run and trap them. Allow those guys to try and initiate offense. Because they’re bigs, they’re not handlers, and we kept running at those guys and it was layups on the back side. If it wasn’t a layup, it was an offensive rebound tip-in. We have to get better there; know personnel, you don’t have to run up at guys when they’re four-men and five-men that aren’t playmakers off the bounce.”

Midway through the second half, it seemed like South Carolina really was in the midst of a layup drill. During a three-minute stretch, the Gamecocks scored 13 points: one free throw, one dunk, five layups.

“It definitely gave them momentum, especially towards the end of the second half,” Pierre said. “They went on a little bit of a run and were getting easy shots, all types of easy looks.”

It was a rough night defensively — 84 points allowed, 55 percent shooting (and 62 percent from two-point range) for South Carolina — but the turnovers on the other end certainly didn’t help. UMass turned the ball over 19 times, with an especially tough night for the frontcourt. Chatman and Tre Mitchell turned the ball over five times each.

“The one area that our frontcourt players have to a better job of is taking care of the basketball,” McCall said. Between [Mitchell], Sy and Samba [Diallo] we had 12 turnovers, 12 out of our 19. Some of it’s positioning, some of it’s carelessness at times, we’ve got to do a much better job of those guys not turning it over.”

In the final analysis, the turnovers and the easy baskets killed UMass. The Minutemen gave South Carolina too many free possessions, and the Gamecocks were ruthless when they were given opportunities, with a 20-11 advantage off of turnovers. South Carolina shot a very poor 2-of-10 from deep — it didn’t matter.

“I was proud of our guys from the standpoint of, you’ve got a top-10, top-five defensive team in the country and we scored 80 points,” McCall said. The problem is, we turned it over 19 times and gave up 84. It’s hard to win when you give up that many points.

“We gave up 84 points and they hit two threes. That’s a problem. That is a major, major problem that we have to get corrected.”

Losers of four straight, the Minutemen will try and get things corrected on the road against Harvard on Saturday afternoon.

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

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *