Today’s the first real test for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team. After wins against Siena, Boston College and Manhattan over the past week, the Minutemen enter Saturday’s game playing against one college basketball’s best in the Atlantic Coastal Conference. Saturday’s game will be a good test for UMass to see where it fits amongst members of the “Big Five” conferences in Division I basketball.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game.
MASSACHUSETTS MINUTEMEN (3-0) VS. NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (3-0)
Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
12 p.m. EST
TV Broadcast — ESPN3/Watch ESPN app
105.5 FM WEEI (Springfield/Amherst), 1440 AM WVEI (Worcester), 95.9 FM WATD (South Shore), 1200 AM WXKS (Boston, Worcester, Manchester, Providence)
Twitter updates: @MDC_Sports / @Andrew_Cyr / @Mark_Chiarelli
News and notes
- UMass and Notre Dame both enter Saturday’s contest boasting a perfect 3-0 record. The Minutemen are fresh after a three day layover coming off an overtime win against the Jaspers. The Irish last played on Wednesday night where they beat Coppin State 104-67.
- The main focus for UMass today will be its ability to stop Notre Dame’s scoring. Over the Irish’s last three games, it has average 92.7 points per game with the average margin of victory being by 39.7 points. This game will be each teams biggest challenge at this point of the season.
- After a 23 point, 16 rebound performance against Manhattan, Cady Lalanne will look to continue his dominance in the paint this season. Entering Saturday, Lalanne is averaging 16.3 points per game, 12 rebounds, and 4.3 blocks. Maxie Esho leads the Minutemen in scoring with 18.7 points per game.
- Seth Berger played a career-high 25 minutes against Manhattan, after getting into foul trouble in games against the Saints and Eagles, the sophomore finally found his role on Tuesday morning. Jabarie Hinds and Donte Clark will likely be the first two off the bench for head coach Derek Kellogg.
- Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey will be aiming for career win No. 400 today. Brey took over at Notre Dame prior to the 2000 season and has posted a career record of 399-210. The Irish finished 15-17 last season and lost in the first round of the AAC tournament against Wake Forest.
- Saturday’s matchup will be the fist ever played between the UMass and Notre Dame.
Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian
Power Delivers in Front of Family
For the first time ever, UMass forward Troy Power played in front of his father and brother, who both made the trip in from California to see him play in his 100th career game as a Minuteman. What better way to mark the occasion than with a goal, as Power scored to make it 3-2 BC in the third period. It was Power’s first goal of the season, and will surely remember this moment.
Close, Yet So Far
Despite pulling within one goal twice in the third period, the Minutemen could never find a tying goal. First it was Power to make it 3-2, then sophomore Marc Hetnik got his name in the goal column following a BC goal to make it 4-3. Despite getting close, a Noah Hanifin goal put BC back up by two, and UMass was unable to find an answer for the Eagles’ offense.
With this game in the books, the Minutemen will have to quickly forget about this game with another Hockey East contest set for tomorrow night against the University of Vermont. The Catamounts, who find themselves towards the top of the conference, were defeated by the University of Connecticut 2-1 earlier in the night.
Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian
BC Tacks On Another
With the second period looking like it would be scoreless, a fortuitous bounce off Oleg Yevenko’s skate into the back of the net gave BC a 3-1 lead at the 4:44 mark. The goal, which was short-handed, was credited to Eagles forward Quinn Smith, whose pass went in off Yevenko to put UMass two goals behind.
UMass Power Play Struggles Continue
Through two periods, the Minutemen have failed to capitalize on four power plays. Despite earning two man-advantages in each period, the BC penalty kill was able to hold off the UMass attack. On the other end, two of the Eagles’ goals have come through special teams play, scoring a goal each on the power play and down a man.
A Look To The Third
Down two, the Minutemen will have to generate chances early if they want to get back into this game. With 16 shots through two period of play, UMass will have to attack early and often, while making sure BC isn’t able to find a fourth and put this game out of reach.
Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian
Trio Strikes Again
It was the line of Ray Pigozzi, Steven Iacobellis, and Frank Vatrano that produced a goal for the Minutemen once again. Just 46 seconds into the game, Pigozzi received a pass for Iacobellis and was able to squeak one passed Boston College goaltender Thatcher Demko. It was Pigozzi’s third goal of the season, with Vatrano and Iacobellis receiving their fourth and seventh assists, respectively.
BC Scores Two Quickly
After a Vatrano hooking penalty, the Eagles capitalized with a power play goal by sophomore Chris Calnan with 4:36 left in the first period to tie the game at 1. Exactly one minute later, BC found the back of the net again exactly one minute later when Cam Spiro ripped a shot passed UMass goalie Henry Dill.
Dill Keeping UMass Alive
With one period in the books, freshman goalie Henry Dill has faced 16 shots, recording 14 saves. Dill made some key saves in the early going, until giving up two goals in quick succession towards the end of the period.
Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian
Coming off a rare bye week, the Massachusetts hockey team hosts No. 12 Boston College at the Mullins Center Friday night at 7 p.m. It will be the second and final matchup of the regular season between the two in-state rivals, as the Minutemen lost 4-1 on Oct. 25 at Chestnut Hill.
Staying out of the box
In the week leading up to Friday’s game, the consensus among UMass players and coach John Micheletto was that limiting penalties would be a key factor in holding the Eagles’ offense at bay. In October’s matchup, the Minutemen almost spent twice as long minutes in the penalty box (31) than Boston College (16). As a result, the Eagles capitalized on back-to-back 5-on-3 goals to establish a lasting lead. After Tuesday’s practice, coach John Micheletto said that the Minutemen must remain aggressive in their attack but restrain from committing any “uncharacteristic” penalties.
Attacking the Eagles’ backline
The Minutemen are coming off a 7-1 victory in their last game against American International College on Nov. 7. In the win, UMass boasted five different goal scorers and saw production from all four lines. Micheletto said that this balanced effort will be important against the No. 12 team in the nation. Power added that speed from the forwards will be crucial in getting the puck close to the net for goal-scoring opportunities.
Anthony Chiusano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.
At the end of regulation with .8 seconds remaining on the clock, Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello drew up the last second play on the spot while the officials were reviewing the previous play.
“I drew it up on the spot,” Masiello said. “It was a hybrid believe it or not. Villanova ran that play against us while I was at Louisville in 2008 and I made one variation to it. They almost beat us with Dante Cunningham coming off a back-screen for a lob. I just tweaked it a little bit.”
Here’s a breakdown of what happened on the play:
Seth Berger (Black 24) is guarding the inbounds passer Emmy Andujar (Grey 13).
Ashton Pankey (Grey 1) is located in the short corner and is gaurded by Cady Lalanne (Blake 25).
Point guard Tyler Wilson (Grey 2) is being covered by Trey Davis (Black 12).
UMass guard Jabarie Hinds (Black 4) is covering Rich Williams (Grey 23), who receives the ally-oop.
Derrick Gordon (Black 2) is guarding Shane Richards (Grey 0) who sets the screen to free up Williams.
Wilson is going to come set a screen on Lalanne. Pankey will then roll off the screen and go to the far-side short-corner.
- Lalanne can’t get around Wilson’s screen quick enough and is forced to stay with him. Look how low wilson gets when setting the screen.
- Davis is forced to switch to Pankey to prevent a short-corner baseline jumper, or an easy dump in inside.
- At the top of the key, Richards is setting a back-screen on Hinds that will free up Williams.
Richards sets an excellent screen on Hinds as Gordon fails to hedge the screen, allows Williams to come around freely. Because Lalanne and Davis are outside preventing a game-typing jumper, or game-winning 3-pointer, it leaves the paint wide-open.
- Richard then pops out to the 3-point line as Gordon is forced to follow him to prevent a shot.
- Because Gordon didn’t hedge the screen, Hinds is now a full two steps behind Williams, who is rolling to the paint.
Andujar makes a perfect pass to Williams for the easy dunk. Lalanne is completely glued to Wilson on the perimeter while all Hinds and Gordon can do is watch from the paint.
Andrew Cyr can be reached at email@example.com, and can be followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.
The Massachusetts men’s basketball program announced Tuesday that recruit Luwane Pikins officially signed his National Letter of Intent to play at UMass next year.
Pipkins, a 5-foot-10 point guard from Chicago, verbally committed to the program last season. He recently attended the Minutemen’s home-opener Friday against Siena with his father, a 95-87 victory. He’s currently a senior at Bogans Prep and also toured the UMass campus.
Last year, Pipkins was ranked on Rivals.com’s list of the top 150 recruits in the country, checking in at No. 122. ESPN awards Pipkins an 80 overall scouting grade, and he’s checked in as both a three and four-star recruit. He initially flew under the recruiting radar, but his stock has risen over the past year. The Chicago Tribune published a good piece on Pipkins.
He’s played the role of a scoring point guard, averaging 27 points, five steals and four assists as a junior.
“He fits the mold of the type of player we have recruited here and brings intangibles I like to coach,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said in a press release. “He’s got toughness for a guard who can play multiple positions and score from the point guard spot.”
As the Minutemen roster currently projects, UMass should return a substantial amount of depth. Trey Davis, Jabarie Hinds and Derrick Gordon all have eligibility remaining and Pipkins will compete for minutes behind a cast of veterans. Pipkins has drawn rough comparisons to former Minutemen guard Chaz Williams, who was similarly undersized and scored from the point guard position.
Mark Chiarelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli.