UMass races to 4-0 start
Minutemen roll at Hall of Fame
Maybe it’s no big deal. Time will tell.
After all, the last time the University of Massachusetts basketball team was 4-0 was 2001-02, the first season of the Steve Lappas era. But those Minutemen finished 13-16, and it’s been mostly rough times since.
But things sure feel different.
UMass surged to 4-0 last night with a 67-48 dismantling of an athletic Texas Christian team at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic in Springfield. The Minutemen’s two games at the MassMutual Center (including Saturday night’s 71-57 wipeout of New Mexico State) constitute their best back-to-back performances under Derek Kellogg, in his third season.
“Big win for us,’’ said Kellogg. “Huge win. I’m ecstatic where my team is right now.’’
Last night was filled with the kind of play UMass fans have seen little of in recent years. There was a relentless defensive intensity, fierce scrap on the boards, and aggressive, unselfish, balanced, and creative play on offense.
“It’s nice to have my team come out and play back-to-back games where we actually played the game the way I envision it,’’ said Kellogg. “I thought our team came out with great energy on the defensive end and we rebounded the basketball. We looked like a team.’’
Anthony Gurley led four UMass scorers in double figures with 14 points. Though he has led the Minutemen in scoring all four games, his aggression has been controlled, his team focus absolute.
“It’s the best basketball I’ve ever seen him play,’’ said Kellogg.
Javorn Farrell contributed 12 points, while Sampson Carter and Freddie Riley each had 10.
TCU (3-2) was led by Ronnie Moss’s 10 points. The Horned Frogs shot just 29.8 percent, and got outrebounded, 43-34.
UMass played with controlled fire in both games, the kind of sustained intensity that Kellogg has been craving.
“We’ve had the glory years,’’ Kellogg said. “This is our new identity — live off the history, but let’s build our own history.’’
UMass will go for its first 5-0 start since the Final Four season of 1995-96 tomorrow night at home against Division 2 American International College.
Hampton 51, BU 50 — Darrion Pellum scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half and Charles Funches scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half as the Pirates edged the Terriers in the NIT Season Tip-Off in Washington, D.C.
Tied at 47, Funches fed Danny Agbelese for a layup and then made two free throws to put Hampton (3-1) up, 51-47, with 1:04 remaining. John Holland’s 3-point play brought BU (2-3) within 51-50 with 46.2 seconds left.
After a Hampton miss, Holland had the ball in the backcourt with six seconds left, but Kwame Morgan stole the ball and was fouled. Morgan missed the one-and-one, but the Terriers’ D.J. Irving was called for charging with 0.6 seconds remaining.
Holland scored 12 points for BU, which shot only 25 percent from the field (16 for 64).
UConn 83, Wichita St. 79 — Kemba Walker scored 29 of his 31 points in the second half and hit a key jumper with under a minute left to help the Huskies (3-0) open the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii, with a win over the Shockers (1-1).
Notre Dame 97, Maine 72 — Tim Abromaitis came out of his 3-point shooting slump to score 26 points, leading the host Irish (4-0) over the Black Bears.
Gerald McLemore scored 16 to lead Maine (2-2). Troy Barnies had 15 points and Raheem Singleton 12.
Duke 82, Marquette 77 — Mason Plumlee scored a career-high 25 points and added 12 rebounds and 6 blocks to lead the top-ranked Blue Devils (4-0) over the Golden Eagles (4-1) in the semifinals of the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo.
Michigan St. 82, Chaminade 74 — Kalin Lucas had 28 points, Korie Lucious added 13, and the No. 2 Spartans (3-0) prevented another magical island upset by holding off the Silverswords (3-1) in the Maui Invitational.
Kansas St. 81, Gonzaga 64 — Jacob Pullen scored 18 points and the No. 4 Wildcats (4-0) pulled away in the second half for an easy victory over the No. 22 Zags (2-2) in the semifinals of the CBE Classic.
Kentucky 76, Oklahoma 64 — Freshman Terrence Jones dominated inside on his way to 29 points and 13 rebounds, and the No. 8 Wildcats (3-0) held off the scrappy Sooners (3-1) at the Maui Invitational.
San Diego St. 77, Miami (Ohio) 56 — Kawhi Leonard had another double-double, and the 18th-ranked Aztecs (5-0) turned up their defensive pressure and used two crushing scoring runs to pull away from the host RedHawks in the CBE Classic.
Women URI 52, Fairfield 44 — Megan Shoniker scored 23 points and freshman Kerry Wallack grabbed 18 rebounds, helping the visiting Rams (3-1) erase a 10-point second-half deficit and beat the Stags (3-1).
Hofstra 80, Providence 76 — Shante Evans had 26 points and 15 rebounds as the Pride (3-1) beat the host Friars (3-2).
Material from staff and wire services was used in this report.