Previews Of UMass-BU Basketball Game - UMass Athletics

Previews Of UMass-BU Basketball Game

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Check out the previews of the UMass-BU Basketball game, Friday at 2 p.m.



Lineup a question for UMass: Injuries to several players could leave UM short vs. BU

AMHERST - University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg had his whole team under one roof again Thursday, but who can play and for how long remains a question as the Minutemen get set to return to action this afternoon against Boston University at 2 p.m. at the Mullins Center.

After travel woes made getting back to Amherst difficult for several Minutemen, Kellogg had his whole roster back for at least parts of practice Thursday.

Guards Gary Correia (stomach), Javorn Farrell (ankle) and Freddie Riley (foot) all were limited in practice by injuries. Riley is expected to play, but Farrell and Corriea are questionable. Even if they do play their minutes could be limited.

"They all practiced some but not a full practice," Kellogg said. "I think we're still up in the air on whether we're going to be able to use those guys or if they're going to be able to play. I think Freddie is likely to play and Javorn and G.C. are more of a question mark."

That likely means the second career start for freshman point guard Daryl Traynham.

"It's tough. He's only a freshman," Kellogg said. "It's tough trying to coach him while you're still trying to coach the rest of the team."

The Minutemen (7-4), who have lost four straight, have gone almost a month since their last victory, a 66-64 win at Quinnipiac. UMass senior guard Anthony Gurley needs just three points to reach 1,000 for his UMass career. Gurley, who transferred from Wake Forest, reach 1,000 in his career earlier this season. He said he's much more anxious for win No. 8 than point No. 1,000.

"It wouldn't mean anything to be honest," Gurley said. "We're dying for a win right now. We have to get off this losing streak and get our confidence back right."

Kellogg agreed.

"A win would be nice. I'd like us to play well and get a win," Kellogg said. "I'm still trying to get these guys to understand how to win and how to compete every day. ... A win would be nice just to get everyone feeling good about themselves."

Boston University arrives in Amherst after losing five of its last six games. The Terriers are 5-8 overall. Two of their wins have come against Atlantic 10 teams as they beat both George Washington and Saint Joseph's.

BU fell 82-81 to Quinnipiac at home on Wednesday.

Senior wing John Holland leads the Terriers in scoring at 18.6 point per game. UMass is plenty familiar with junior guard Daryl Partin. As a freshman at La Salle, Partin torched UMass for 30 points. He's averaging 12.3 points per game.

"They have a good team," Kellogg said. "They can really score the ball. It's going to be a good game, a tough game. I'm hoping our guys are up for the challenge."


Thrice would be nice as UMass looks for better 3-point shooting against BU

Published: Thursday, December 30, 2010, 10:00 AM     Updated: Thursday, December 30, 2010, 10:19 AM
UMass Men's Basketball vs BrandeisUMass' Freddie Riley launches up a 3-point shot during a November, 2010 game against Brandeis.

AMHERST - Derek Kellogg has never wanted his teams to rely too heavily on the 3-point shot.

But, with the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team on a four-game losing streak, its coach knows the problem at the perimeter has become too big to ignore.

"Even before we went 2-for-22 against Central Florida, we had been working more on shooting. It's become a focal point, because it has made the difference in a couple of games,'' Kellogg said.

The Minutemen are shooting a dismal 29.5 percent on 3-pointers this year. They face Boston University in a rare Friday afternoon game at the Mullins Center. .

The Terriers are 5-8, and have lost five of their last six. But five losses of their eight losses have been by three or fewer points,.including Wednesday's 82-81 squeaker to Quinnipiac.

They are 2-1 against Atlantic 10 teams, beating George Washington and Saint Joseph's, but losing to La Salle.

The preseason America East favroite, BU has held opponents to 32 percent shooting from 3-point range.

This is a dicey challenge for UMass (7-4), which is shooting 22.4 percent on 3's during its four-game losing streak (19 for 85).

The 2-for-22 bricklaying came in a 64-59 loss to Central Florida. Excluding a 104-79 loss to Seton Hall, when defense was the problem, the Minutemen have shot 10 for 63 on 3's in three games that were lost by a total of 22 points.

"I don't want to make too big a deal about shooting, because I don't want the guys to start thinking about it,'' Kellogg said.

He wants confident shooters, not uncertain players second-guessing themselves.

"When we went 2-for-22, the 3's were not bad shots, for the most part. A couple went in and out,'' Kellogg said.

Even so, the only reliable long-range shooters have been Anthony Gurley (38.6 percent) and Gary Correia (40.9).

Correia is 12 percentage points above his career average, but he has taken only 22 three-point tries. He missed the last game with a stomach problem, and his status is uncertain.

The key to the perimeter game is sophomore guard Freddie Riley, who electrified the fans with 3-point shooting that helped win two games.

In victories over Rider and Holy Cross, Riley was 11 for 20. But in his other nine games, he is 11 for 53.

Kellogg thinks Riley needs to get into the practice gym and reacquaint himself with what has made him a dangerous shooter.

"When Freddie is in rhythm, he's a knockdown shooter. Shot selection is such a huge thing for him,'' Kellogg said.

Among secondary 3-point options, Raphiael Putney is 1-for-9, but the 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman has not been shy.

His game-tying 3-pointer with 1:02 left against Central Florida rimmed out.

"It was not the shot I drew up, but it kind of sat on the rim. It was a pretty good shot,'' Kellogg said.

"Raphiael was playing with confidence. Do I want to take their confidence away, or let them play with confidence?''

The problem created by cold 3-point shooting is compounded by the fact that UMass is not scoring many points from 1-on-1, low-post matchups.

Forward Terrell Vinson has struggled. Big men Hashim Bailey and Sean Carter are not big scorers.

Without reliable 3-point shooting, and with limited inside scoring, the offense is relying on mid-range jumpers and drives to the basket. Neither is easily converted against zone defenses, which UMass could see frequently until they show they can shoot over them from 3-point range.

Kellogg still sees better days ahead.

"The pieces are there,'' he said. "We just need to put them together.''

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