UMass left with empty feeling
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas - Midway through the University of Massachusetts’s third and final matchup in the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Minutemen ran out of gas.
After trailing by just 2 points to the College of Charleston one possession into the second half, UMass surrendered a debilitating 30-11 run over the next 12:06 that put the Minutemen in a 21-point hole. UMass (5-2) was unable to overcome the deficit, falling to the Cougars, 85-61, last night.
“The defensive intensity wasn’t as good as it had been for the last couple days,’’ said UMass coach Derek Kellogg, whose squad went 1-2 at the three-day tournament, finishing in sixth place. “I thought our guys didn’t have the pop really in that last 16 minutes that we’ve had really the whole year up to this point.’’
Anthony Stitt and Antwaine Wiggins led the way for Charleston (5-1), combining for eight 3-pointers and 46 points. Stitt, a freshman reserve who until last night had not scored in double figures, knocked down five treys on eight attempts. The guard added eight assists and three steals in 30 minutes.
“This little guy to my right, he came off the bench and just ignited us. Just flat-out ignited us,’’ said Charleston coach Bobby Cremins of Stitt during the postgame news conference. “We needed his ballhandling against the relentless pressure of UMass.’’
Stitt and Wiggins played crucial roles in the Cougars’ second-half run. After a layup by Sean Carter (10 points, nine rebounds) cut UMass’s deficit to 2, Wiggins nailed his second trey, igniting the run.
Wiggins and Stitt combined for 18 of Charleston’s 30 points during the 12-minute-plus stretch, scoring off a combination of 3-pointers and layups.
“I’m not sure they even hit the net when they were shooting,’’ Kellogg said of Charleston, which shot 12 of 23 from long range. “You hope that when you’re pressing they miss some open ones every now and again and you can go back at them. Tonight, they didn’t miss.’’
UMass was led by freshman Cady Lalanne, who finished with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting in 14 minutes.
“Cady did some good things,’’ Kellogg said. “He’s still a little young and doesn’t have a ton of experience. I think down the line he’s got a chance to be a good player.’’
The Minutemen got only 8 points from their leading scorer, Chaz Williams. The speedy point guard struggled finishing at the basket, missing 7 of 9 attempts.
“That was not a good game for Chaz,’’ Kellogg said. “He was the one guy on our team that had played 35 and 36 minutes the last two games, and I think that affected him. He got frustrated a little bit, held onto the ball a little bit too much.’’
Williams, who finished with no assists for the first time this season, struggled shooting throughout the three-day tournament. The Hofstra transfer was 11 of 40 from the field, 3 of 10 on 3-pointers.