Feb. 23, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. -
UMass Head Basketball Coach Derek Kellogg held his weekly Atlantic 10 teleconference on Monday. Kellogg recapped the Minutemen's 70-69 win at Saint Joseph's on Sunday and previewed this Wednesday's matchup with Duquesne. Kellogg also discussed senior Chris Lowe's contribution to the team this season. UMass will host Duquesne this Wednesday at 7 PM from the Mullins Center.
Coach Kellogg's thoughts on Sunday's 70-69 win at Saint Joseph's:
We've been in a lot of very good college basketball games this year where they've been fun to watch and have been exciting for the fans and have come down to the wire. And yesterday was a great college basketball atmosphere where people were really into the game. Coming down the stretch yesterday, we were in one of those epic battles once again where either team could win. I thought yesterday the basketball Gods worked in our favor for once this year. They had an open look on a three that went in and out, but coming down the stretch we were fortunate enough to hit two free throws with two seconds on the clock that ended up winning the game for us. I thought that both teams gave everything they had and competed at a high level.
Kellogg on UMass' close games this season:
Coach Kellogg on Chris Lowe:
In practice, we've zeroed in on things that are going to help us at the end of games; more along the lines of what we're going to do in certain situations on offense and defense. And we made free throws yesterday down the stretch, and we hadn't done that in three or four of our losses; we had missed some one-and-ones and some two shot free throws at the end of the game. And it was great to see Chris Lowe break the all-time assist record at UMass on the same day that he played very well and hit two big free throws late to win a game that we desperately needed to make some noise coming down the stretch.
If you're looking at a lot of teams around the league that are winning or playing at a high level, they're playing older guys with some freshman and sophomores sprinkled in; so it is a league where the more mature teams with experience are the more successful teams. So to have a point guard that's been through it, one who is one of the better point guards to play here in a long time, has been beneficial because now he's got a feel for what I'm expecting out of him. And now that the season's almost coming to a close, I think he's really picked up his pace and yesterday was one of the better games he's played in a long time. I think he's realized that it's the time for him to step up his game and take this team over.
Kellogg on maintaining level of intensity and confidence during rough stretch:
It's been a great learning experience for me as a first year head coach to have a lot of diversity thrown at us in a lot of games where we've been in tight situations. So hopefully I'm improving as a head coach and we'll be better in the long run for that. At Memphis, we didn't have much adversity in terms as wins and losses, and it's easier to deal with the ninth and tenth man on the bench when you're winning. But what it really comes down to is the type of kids that you have, and we have a great bunch of kids. And I think that will carry over to the court; that your guys will stay in games and continue to claw until the end. And that is a testament to our senior leaders; they've done a nice job in keeping this team together through quite a bit of adversity this season.
Coach Kellogg on Wednesday's game against Duquesne:
They're great; I've watched them a lot and they play a great style. They're pressing and running and they're guys play with a great attitude and edge about them. And it all trickles down from their coach. He's a tough guy who was a great player himself, and I think his team is a rub-off of him. I think they're a fun team to watch; they're a dangerous team that shoots a lot of threes, they push in transition and trap all over the court. It's kind of like the way most kids would like to play.