UMass men’s basketball team spreads the minutes evenly in the loss to Fordham

Minutemen used ten players in loss to Rams

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Sophie-Zoe Schreyer / Daily Collegian

By Frederick Hanna III, Collegian Staff

Nine players finished with double-digit minutes in the Massachusetts men’s basketball team loss to Fordham, who handed the Minutemen their third straight loss of the season by a final score of 85-73. It’s the second time this year the squad has lost at least three games in a row.

Outside of Preston Santos who finished the contest with three minutes, every other UMass (12-16, 5-11 Atlantic 10) player played at least 14 minutes. The Minutemen have a tough challenge ahead after the loss to Fordham (14-14, 7-9 A-10) with a follow up game against the Rams on Wednesday and the season finale against George Mason on Saturday. Nine players seeing double digits of action against Fordham signals to the stress this week could have on players becoming fatigued.

Javohn Garcia led the way for UMass with a team-high 27 minutes. The sophomore didn’t have the best scoring night against the Rams, finishing with six points on 3-of-9 shooting from the floor, unable to connect on any of his four 3-point attempts. In absence of his scoring, Garcia provided McCall with his ability to be another floor general on the court and someone who can play lock down man-to-man defense. The 27 minutes Garcia played was the highest total he’s had since the loss to George Mason on Jan 30.

“His intensity defensively,” McCall said as to why Garcia led the team in minutes. “I thought he was doing a great job with just guarding the ball, putting pressure on the ball especially late in the game. I thought his intensity defensively really was through the roof. He had some good finishes in there [around the basket], had some deflections, but I thought just his intensity was a reason he was out there.”

Among the group of players who saw an increase in their minutes against the Rams was Dyondre Dominguez, who finished the game with 18. The sophomore forward averaged 20.4 minutes through his first seven games of the season yet after that stretch he’s managed to only hit the double digit mark two times, not counting Monday’s loss.

Dominguez showed flashes as a true stretch four for McCall early in the season although his minutes steadily declined with the transition of Michael Steadman into the offense. Trent Buttrick solidified himself early on in the season as someone who could stretch the floor and the addition of Steadman seemed to be the go-to combination. Dominguez ended the game with eight points against Fordham on 3-of-12 shooting from the field and his two made 3-pointers led the way for the Minutemen.

“I thought [Dominguez] brought some energy [against Fordham],” McCall said. “I thought his energy, his effort was where it needed to be. He actually did a decent job on the backboard for us…[he laid out] just a lot of body out there on the floor too. I thought he gave us that presence.”

For the majority of this season McCall has stuck with a seven to eight man rotation. Season-ending injuries to Dibaji Walker and Cairo McCrory earlier in the season were tough blows to the depth of the Minutemen given their versatility and length on the floor. Dominguez will certainly see an increase in his usage to end the season given the quick turnaround UMass is going to have to rest for its games.

The Minutemen head back home on Wednesday to end their season series with the Rams. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN plus.

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