UMass men’s basketball has its hands full with the task of guarding St. Joe’s guard Ryan Daly

Saint Joseph’s leads the country in 3-point attempts


Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

By Frederick Hanna III, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team will have its hands full for Wednesday’s game when Saint Joseph’s come into town.

The Minutemen (8-12, 2-5 Atlantic 10) will have the challenge of defending the third leading scorer in the A-10, Ryan Daly. The redshirt junior will certainly be one of UMass’ toughest scorers to guard this season and has already proven that he can put up big numbers against quality teams.

“They have one of the best players in the league in Daly,” UMass coach Matt McCall said. “He is so crafty, and he can score in a variety of different ways. It’s such a unique style to play against because of how many threes they take. Obviously, they space you out, they’re going to drive on you, but when your number one in the country in three-point field goals attempted, that’s a lot of threes that go up in the air and a lot of opportunities to make.”

Daly has been clinical in his scoring abilities, being able to shoot the long three ball but also take the ball down low in the post and work on his defenders. It will be an interesting matchup for the Minutemen, who held Duquesne to just 36.7 percent from the field this past Saturday. Daly is the go-to man for the Hawks (4-16, 0-7 A-10), who have been struggling to get wins under the belt so far this season. St. Joe’s has competed against ranked opponents this season. The Hawks lost to Florida and Villanova by an average margin of 10 points. Daly has been the reason as to why the Hawks have been able to compete against good teams and stay in close games.

Daly is averaging 19.3 points per game and has scored 20 or more points this season in 12 games, scoring when the moment matters. He is also averaging 7.8 rebounds a game, and has recorded double-doubles against Dayton, Florida and Loyola Chicago.

“In our scouting, they [St. Joe’s] are all the same player, we are switching a lot, we are focusing on Daly,” Kolton Mitchell said on the guard. “He is a smaller Luka Doncic, we are focusing on taking him away.”

Aside from focusing on defending St. Joe’s leading scorer, Mitchell is relishing his time on the court Saturday and looking forward to Wednesday.

“When I get out there you just see the game change. Energy is contagious and when you bring that everyone else brings that. It is fun to watch.”

To counter Daly’s high scoring and ability to facilitate the ball for the Hawks, the Minutemen need more than two scorers to beat St. Joe’s. After McCall inserted Preston Santos and Mitchell into the lineup on Saturday against Duquesne, Santos stepped up into the moment and took control of his opportunity to make an impact on the floor. Santos will be key in the game Wednesday.

“If we do everything we are supposed to do and meant to do then we will come out with a big win,” Santos said. “Keep a positive mindset, play hard, know that as a team to always stay together, stay composed and to play hard with all of your heart. At the end of the day if you do that then you’ll leave with no regrets.”

UMass will rely on the scoring of Tre Mitchell and Carl Pierre come Wednesday, but Santos will be looked upon to as the third guy that UMass can rely on. Santos dropped a career high in points on Saturday, and also was a prolific rebounder in the game. Mitchell is averaging 15.8 points per game and fifth in the A-10 in scoring, along with Carl Pierre who is 15th in scoring with 14 points per game. Contributing to their scoring, players such as Dibaji Walker, Santos and Samba Diallo will have to step up to be those third and fourth players that McCall has called for.

“Stay focused, try not to get too high or too low,” Pierre said. “I mean it was a big win, but we got another game, and one after that and we have to be prepared for every single one of them.”

Frederick Hanna III can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @FrederickHIII.