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

UMass men’s basketball blown out by Dayton on the road on Wednesday night

Minutemen outscored 46-23 by halftime
Sophia-Zoe Schreyer
Sophie-Zoe Schreyer/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team couldn´t stop Dayton from putting on a clinic in its 82-61 loss to the Flyers on the road on Wednesday night.

Dayton (20-8, 12-3 Atlantic 10) dismantled the Minutemen (12-14, 5-9 A-10) in all aspects of the game other than free throw shooting. When the halftime buzzer hit, the Flyers doubled UMass in points, 46-23. The first half score reflected the true nature of the game more than the final score did, as the second half turned into a practice session for the Minutemen bench.

“You got to give [Dayton] a lot of credit, they ramped up their pressure today and I didn’t think we handled it very well,” UMass head coach Matt McCall said. “I thought coming across half court in the first half it’s almost like at times we were too sped up and we needed to take a breath, get ourselves in the offense and do a better job out there.”

The size and athleticism in the Flyers’ rotation proved to be superior. The Minutemen struggled to cross half court and get in their offense. Impatience led to heaving contested threes after unsuccessful pick-and-rolls.

Dayton dismantled UMass’ pick-and-roll game on both sides of the hardwood. On offense, it used a size advantage and well-timed passes into the paint to earn easy layups and dunks. Defensively, the Flyers closed off any driving angles and 3-point opportunities to neutralize the Minutemen’s pick-and-roll. Both resulted in Dayton outscoring the Minutemen 30-4 in the paint in the first half.

Things weren’t any different outside of the paint. Dayton outshot UMass 69 to 30.4 percent from the field and 55.6 to 25 percent from three in the first half. The last seven minutes of the half were especially rough for the Minutemen, as they didn’t convert a single field goal in that span.

Individual scoring for UMass looked bleak. Dayton is the nation’s top 10 scoring defense, and it held a Minutemen squad that averages 75.6 points per game to 61 points, including 23 outside of garbage time.

As one of the few bright spots for UMass, forward Michael Steadman led the way with 14 points, taking all but two of his team’s free throws. C.J. Kelly followed him as the only other Minutemen with double-digit points, scoring 11 points and dished out four assists.

“Michael Steadman has been in the gym,” McCall said. “He’s in there early, he’s in there before class, he’s in there early in practice. He’s made a conscious effort to want to get better and improve on his own. He’s coming to our office and pulling coaches down to the floor to get extra work in. That’s why he’s playing well, man… I’m proud of him for that.”

The Flyers had five players with double-digit points, led by Mustapha Amzil and Koby Brea with 16 points each.

UMass hosts VCU on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at the Mullins Center, with four games remaining before the A-10 Tournament.

“We got to take advantage of the time we have and we got to get better,” McCall said. “We’ll try to clean some things up here… we have to do a better job of executing offense coming out of the press, and just improve. How much can we improve two weeks from tomorrow, how much can we get better and improve to try to make a run down in D.C.”

Pedro Gray Soares can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @P_GraySoares

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