The Friars (7-2) will make the trek northeast tomorrow to take on the UMass Minutemen at the Mullins Center. UMass (4-5) is in he midst of a rebuild year with first year coach Matt McCall, who came over from Chattanooga. The Minutemen are led in scoring by sophomore guard Luwane Pipkins (17.7 ppg) and in rebounding by junior forward Malik Hines (6.6 rpg). The Friars are coming off another too close for comfort victory over Brown in overtime while UMass is coming off a 14-point victory over Holy Cross. Let’s find out what it will take for the Friars to get the road victory in my keys to the game.
Crier’s Keys to the Game
Attack Rashaan Holloway
Rashaan Holloway is the second leading scorer for the Minutemen and yet he only plays 17.9 minutes per game. The reason for this is because Holloway often gets into foul trouble. The 6′ 11″ 310 pound junior center has already fouled out against Minnesota and South Carolina and has had at least 3 fouls in all but one game. Kalif Young and Nate Young didn’t see any action in the second half against Brown as coach Cooley didn’t like what he was getting and went small. If I was either of them I’d try and come out extremely aggressive tomorrow. I’d expect the Friars to try attack Holloway down low and get him in foul trouble.
Ashton-Langford vs. McClean
For the second time in the past three games the Friars will play a team that features a talented freshman guard. Unique McClean (7 ppg) is a redshirt freshman guard from Brooklyn who is known for his dunking abilities.
In the game against URI Makai Ashton-Langford had some great moments but was outshined by Daron “Fatts” Russell. In this game I would expect Makai to have the upper hand in the matchup and expect to see Makai be aggressive attacking the basket. Ashton-Langford has an opportunity to score double figures in his 4th consecutive contest. The Friars may need to lean on their freshman point guard for point production especially with Cartwright, White and Diallo all nursing injuries.
Share the Ball
Numbers aside the Crier feels that PC isn’t sharing the ball as much as we should. While Rodney and Kyron have had their moments this isn’t a team that has a go to scorer. The beauty of this Friar team is that they have a lot of options to go to. While this may be the case I’m watching the Brown game and I see guys trying to do it all by themselves, Rodney Bullock is a fantastic player but him trying to score against a double team is a nightmare. I saw to many times against Brown Rodney trying to score off being doubled. The Friars are going to need to move the ball and get everyone involved to put up points.
After the URI loss the Crier was looking at the schedule and felt the Friars needed to win out the rest of the non-confernce slate. The Brown game felt like the perfect timing for the Friars to get in a groove. Instead this team decided to have a 12-point defect at halftime and down by 15 in the second half. The Friars ended up coming back and getting another single digit victory in a game where they should’ve won by double digits. While I would love to say the Friars will blowout a rebuilding UMass team, I don’t see it happening. UMass has four of their five loses by single digits with three of those decided by three points or less. This Minutemen team isn’t that impressive but they definitely compete. With the Friars man-to-man defense the way it is now I don’t see UMass having a problem scoring. Im not going to say the Friars will lose but this one won’t be easy.
Friars 70 UMass 69