Feb. 2, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. -
UMass Head Basketball Coach Derek Kellogg had his weekly Atlantic-10 Teleconference Monday morning. Kellogg reviewed last Saturday's 82-80 loss at No. Xavier and previewed this Wednesday's game against Richmond. The Minutemen are now 7-12 overall and currently sit in 10th place in the A-10 standings. Tip-off for Wednesday's game is slated for 7 PM at the Mullins Center.
Coach Kellogg on Saturday's 82-80 loss at No. 10 Xavier:
I thought we went in and competed at a high level. Our guys were ready for the contest and playing a team like Xavier on the road, I thought we played to win the game. I was proud of our guys and impressed that we competed, but I still thought that we still had a chance to pull that game out. But we just didn't close it out. I think we're getting better at figuring out how to win games at the end. At least this game we gave ourselves a chance to win, but a missed three and a good play by a Xavier player was the difference.
Coach Kellogg on making progress throughout the season:
I spoke to the guys after the game, and what I said was that we've stepped up and played some very good games at different occasions during the season. But I said that the way they played on Saturday wasn't only the way we need to play every time out, but we need to practice that way. We need to come to shoot-arounds and walk throughs with that kind of focus and mentality. And when you're able to do that, that's when you can consider yourself a great basketball team. I think we still have a little ways to go as far as doing that on every occasion. But I told our guys that we need to use the Xavier game as a stepping stone.
Coach Kellogg on his team's transformation:
Coach Kellogg on Xavier:
The one good thing is that we've been in every game. Every game we've had in league play has gone down to the wire, whether it was a win or a loss. I think we're putting ourselves in a position to be competitive, but competitive isn't good enough. At some point you have to win some ball games, and I think our guys are seeing that. If we play the way we're supposed to and play at the level we can be in just about any basketball game. And now it's a question of who is going to make the plays down the stretch to pull some of these games out.
Xavier's very good; they have size, athleticism, strength, experience and they are very well coached. I felt like we were on our A-game, and Xavier played very well. But I'm sure that they've had some better games and have gotten up for other teams this season. But Brown and Raymond were fantastic, and they showed why juniors and seniors are teams that can advance in the NCAA Tournament. They have a good bench and I think that they have a chance to do some pretty good things in not only our conference but also in the national tournament. What happened in our game was that the older guys were the ones that stepped up and made plays. And it's nice when you have your program in a place where the younger guys can help, but it's not totally on top of them.
Coach Kellogg on Wednesday's game against Richmond:
They're a very good club who plays a unique style in our league. Coach does a fantastic job in getting all of his players involved in the game. Quite frankly, I'm a little nervous. They're coming in on Wednesday; I've had an opportunity to watch them quite a bit on tape. I'm very impressed with what they do, and I'm still trying to figure out how we're going to play some of the different things that they do on both sides on the floor. We're going to have to do some things to make sure we're aware of how they're trying to play and what they're trying to do. They don't play a slow game, but they are patient. They wait for you to make a mistake and then they capitalize. When we played them at Memphis, they did a great job of controlling tempo and controlling the game.