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

Dyondre Dominguez sparks UMass’ strong second half against Central Connecticut State

The forward scored 13 points in a seven-minute stretch
Sophia-Zoe Schreyer

Early in the second half, the Massachusetts men’s basketball team needed an energy boost to stretch its lead against Central Connecticut State on Monday night.

Dyondre Dominguez provided that energy and helped the Minutemen (1-0) put the game out of reach early in the frame. The 6-foot-9-inch forward took over with a dominant individual run lasting seven minutes, where he scored 13 points, grabbed four rebounds and took an offensive charge.

“[Dominguez’s run was] very important,” UMass big man Isaac Kante said. “I feel like it put them away and it gave us life, it gave us confidence like, ‘yeah, we know who we are,’ like this is supposed to happen… Dyondre’s run solidified it and we just took care of business.”

“It felt great,” Minutemen guard TJ Weeks said of the home crowd. “Especially the intensity, especially when [Dominguez] was going crazy and [he] was screaming, and the intensity from the crowd. It felt great. It felt like we just really stomped on their necks and ended the game right there.”

Weeks is one of the few players on this team who played with Dominguez prior to this season. He’s seen every step of his teammate’s evolution up to the season opener on Monday night.

Frank Martin brought to Amherst a culture of physicality, overhauling Dominguez’s mentality and style of play during the offseason.

“Dyondre has put on 23 pounds since my first day on the job. You know, he’s become a lot more responsible as a student-athlete on this campus.”

“And then what I keep telling him is, he’s got length, he’s got athleticism… But what I keep telling him is like, ‘[Dyondre], Wildens [Leveque], Isaac, Brandon [Martin] are physically just strong and they’re going to go in there and beat people up. When you go in there… don’t play cute, and play like a rabid dog out there. Go after that ball. That’s all I talked to him about.”

When Dominguez entered the game in the second half at the 15:01 mark, he immediately got the crowd rocking by scoring six straight UMass points. Two minutes later, Dominguez knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key then grabbed an offensive rebound and put in the second chance basket in consecutive possessions.

A minute and a half later Dominguez concluded his spell with a swooping, contested layup in transition after a CCSU (0-1) turnover. The Minutemen led 74-45 with 8:20 left, Dominguez earned a rest and UMass held its lead for the rest of the game.

He finished the game with 15 points, seven rebounds ­— including three offensive boards ­—  and a blocked shot in just under 14 minutes of play. His points and rebounds tallies were both second best on the team and tied his career highs.

Dominguez’s previous highest scoring performance was 15 points his freshman year, and his highest rebounding output in a game was seven last year. It took him one game under Martin to tie those numbers and get the crowd on their feet.

“[Dominguez has] learned our structure, he’s accepting that and he’s got energy man,” Martin said.

“He came on the timeout after all that energy and he was looking crazy, and he sat down and looked at me and he goes ‘I’m tired man, take me out.’ We need him. He gives us a different dynamic than those other guys we play on the front line.”

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

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