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

Three-point shooting key in UMass’ dominant win over Fordham

UMass shot 9-of-14 from deep in the first half
Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

The 3-point shooting seemed to turn on with a flip of a switch for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team as they cruised through the first half sinking threes left and right over Fordham to help them in its 65-46 win on the road.

There was no reason to worry about the shooting for UMass (5-3, 4-1 Atlantic 10) in its opening half against the Rams (1-5, 1-5 A-10). The Minutemen entered the game firing on all cylinders, knocking down threes with ease. In the opening half, UMass went 9-of-14 from beyond the arc while also managing to shoot 52 percent from the field.

It certainly wasn’t anywhere similar to the type of shooting performance that UMass had when it narrowly pulled out a win over Rhode Island. In its last conference game against URI, UMass shot 6-of-30 from three which was three less than the total number of threes hit in the first half against Fordham. TJ Weeks contributed with 11 points on 2-of-5 shooting from three, while his counterpart Tre Mitchell connected from deep three times, all of those threes coming in the opening half of the game.

“The offense was flowing and once we started hitting [the threes], they sat in a zone, and that let everybody be open,” Weeks said.

Weeks was just one of three Minutemen to knock down two or more threes in the game, Carl Pierre and Mitchell being the others. Pierre finished the game going 3-of-8 from deep, continuing his pace of at least two or more 3-pointers made over the span of his last six games.

Just this past Friday, UMass coach Matt McCall emphasized getting to the basket more and focusing on the interior game. But against Fordham on Sunday, it was a completely different UMass team out of the gate. The Minutemen spread the floor a lot with Mitchell up at the top of the key facilitating the offense, either knocking down threes or spreading it down low to Ronnie DeGray III.

“Our guys had the right approach coming in,” McCall said. “Our energy just from the jump from the guys on the floor to our bench, I thought was through the roof. We forced them into some turnovers, we were able to get out on the break, but the ball movement since they were zone and settled. We got the ball into the middle of the zone, we had 11 assists in the first half.”

The 3-point shooting faded away in the second half as the red-hot start for the Minutemen soon saw them struggling from deep, allowing Fordham back into the game. UMass shot just 1-of-14 from deep in the second half, a number drastically different from the first half and similar to that of how they have been shooting from deep in recent games.

Pierre, Mitchell and Weeks combined for eight threes made on 22 shot attempts. Pierre sunk the first basket of the game for UMass on a three and that was soon followed by back-to-back threes made by Mitchell. Aside from free throws, UMass was only hitting threes up until the 8:37 mark when Weeks knocked down a jumper. It was a strong showing for UMass in the first half which boosted them into a comfortable second half lead to hang on for its third straight conference win.

UMass is scheduled to take on Saint Louis on Jan. 20th, but the game is likely to be cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols. Instead, they will take on Davidson in Amherst on Jan. 24th with tipoff scheduled for at 12 p.m.

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

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 *