Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, overshadowing all good things expected for the 2016 Red Sox

Boston at Kansas City

(John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS)

The story of the 2016 installment of the Boston Red Sox should center around a legend walking away from the game and a newfound ace brought in to revitalize an organization that has finished in last place of its respective division three times out of the last four years.

David Ortiz, who announced in December that he will retire following the upcoming season, and left-handed pitcher David Price, who signed a seven-year, $217 million deal this offseason with Boston, should be the storylines that make fans excited about this year’s team with just over a month to go until Opening Day in Cleveland.

Those storylines have now been thrown by the wayside after last offseason’s acquisitions showed up to Spring Training in much worse shape than a year ago. Underperforming and clearly overweight third baseman Pablo Sandoval looks remarkably heavier than he did at the end of the 2015 after having four months to get ready for the season.

Shortstop turned left fielder and now first baseman Hanley Ramirez looks like he could care less about learning his new position after the disaster that was Ramirez playing one of the easiest positions in baseball last year.

Who can forget when Ramirez injured his shoulder crashing into the Green Monster and the other countless blunders made in the outfield last year? Now Ramirez is struggling to play first base, and according to almost every reporter down at JetBlue Park for Spring Training, the difficulty of his workouts are night and day to that of back-up first baseman Travis Shaw.

What’s even more appalling is how the Red Sox front office will come out and fabricate their stories to the media – or extremely stretch the truth – regarding these two disasters. Principal owner John Henry, Chairman Tom Werner and President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski have gone around all week and fed the fans and media lies about how Sandoval has worked even harder than he did all of last year and is in much better shape – even going as far as the say he is at 17-percent body fat.

“I think the main thrust of his offseason program was about agility and conditioning,” Henry told reporters Wednesday. “So the only thing I will say is he came in with a body fat ratio of 17 percent, substantially down from last year. That’s what we were looking for. I don’t think you’ll ever see a thin Pablo, and I know the focus is on his weight, but our focus was on his ability to field the ball and throw the ball, hit the ball. So I think he has six weeks, as does everyone else, to get in first-class playing shape. That’s part of what spring training’s about, and I have every expectation that he will.”

“Not many of us have 17 percent body fat,” Henry said.

Werner also crossed himself this week. When asked about Sandoval’s weight and if he was disappointed when he saw him at JetBlue Park, Werner said he was not. When asked the same question less than an hour later on WEEI, Werner said “Yes, I was, but I think the most important thing, and I think we’d all agree on this, is how is he going to be on April 4th and how is he going to be on May 4th? Certainly there have been some private conversations that have been had between Pablo and Dombrowski and John Farrell and I would like to say as somebody who knows Pablo, he has a tremendous work ethic. We’re not talking about an average player. We’re talking about a player who has won three World Series’, been a World Series MVP and he wants to excel this year.”

What? Are they serious? When the Boston initially hired Dombrowski, it seemed as if they were making a great step. Henry this week, even aside from his comments on Ramirez and Sandoval, finally admitted the mistakes the Red Sox have made in seasons passed. The owner suggested the team was maybe too reliant on analytics. Henry and Werner also admitted mistakes when they hired Dombrowski, who signed Price after the two repeatedly said that you don’t need an ace, and refused to sign pitchers in their 30s to mega contracts.

Some accountability – finally – it appeared. It was all for not when Henry, Werner and Dombrowski went and enabled Sandoval to come into the season massively overweight and for Ramirez to just do as he pleases. Second basemen Dustin Pedroia has been seen all over the blogs, articles and tweets this week literally holding Ramirez’s hand through infielder drills.

Forget the signing of Price, who figures to be a top of the rotation starter and will aid in the development of fellow left hander Eduardo Rodriguez.

Forget the signing of Craig Kimbrel – a top tier closer who has increased in velocity each season he’s been in Major League Baseball and provides a lethal option out of the bullpen with former closer Koji Uehara hitting the end of his career.

Forget the young, upstart outfield of Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts.

Forget the maturing of shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who has yet to even enter the prime of his career at the ripe age of 23.

And most importantly, forget the send off of Ortiz – who, for all the negatives he has in his time in Boston, was one of the best Red Sox ever and in terms of significance, arguably the best to don the Boston uniform. Perhaps the most clutch player in Red Sox history could be left on the back burner with all the negativity surrounding them heading into his final season.

Sorry, Boston fans, but the excitement of the 2016 campaign has already been sucked out of me as quickly as it was breathed in, and it’s not even March.

Kyle DaLuz can be reached at kdaluz@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Kyle_DaLuz.

Tom Brady is making the right decision attending Super Bowl 50

(Danielle Parhizkaran/The Record/TNS)

(Danielle Parhizkaran/The Record/TNS)

Joe Montana. John Elway. Terry Bradshaw. Bart Starr. These are just four of the names that include a long list of the all-time great quarterbacks that have won the esteemed Lombardi Trophy and were named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

We’ve been force-fed by CBS for the past five months that Super Bowl 50 is will be the most watched television event in history. It is the ultimate milestone for a game that has transformed our culture, as Sunday afternoon football has become an appointment of must-watched television.

In Santa Clara, California – the site of Sunday’s Super Bowl 50– the NFL will honor past Super Bowl MVPs on the field before the opening kickoff, in part of a celebration commemorating how far and how big the Super Bowl – the game and the event itself – has gotten.

There was a chance that come Sunday, an outlier may have presented itself when discussing a certain three-time Super Bowl MVP that grew up just 20 miles south of Levi’s Stadium.

According to Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will attend Super Bowl 50 as a part of the pregame festivities on Sunday – ending all the speculation that Brady would be boycotting the event as a potential dig at the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

It would have been a black eye for both Brady and the league if arguably the greatest quarterback the game has ever seen – one that is tied for the record with his boyhood-idol Montana for number of MVPs (three) and Super Bowl victories (four) – decided to stick it to the NFL for the way he was treated during the Deflategate saga by Goodell and skip this event.

It would have been looked at as the ultimate honor and privilege to be even mentioned in the same breath as Montana, Elway and Bradshaw, when just down the road Brady paced through his neighborhood in tears on the fateful spring night back in 2000, wondering whether or not his name would ever get called in the draft before being called at No. 199.

There is no doubt that the NFL mishandled Deflategate, and for some reason, conducted a witch hunt on one of the games greatest players and ambassadors. Brady has all the reason in the world to be spiteful towards a league that has questioned his character and integrity for what transpired before the AFC Championship game, a 45-7 Patriots win, back Jan. 19, 2015.

That does not, however, excuse Brady from being on the stage with the very best. How bad would it look if the NBA hosted an event honoring all the previous Finals MVPs and Michael Jordan decided to skip?

On Brady’s Facebook post back in April, he posted a picture of the letter he received from Goodell’s desk with the caption, “What an honor … Hope I have my helmet on for the on-field ceremony in SF!”

Brady will not have his helmet on for the on-field ceremony, with his Patriots falling to the AFC champion Denver Broncos two weeks prior in the AFCCG. Brady will have to stomach the notion that it is Peyton Manningl be representing the AFC in the Super Bowl, not the Patriots.

Brady is one of only 43 players to be awarded the prestigious honor of Super Bowl MVP and one of only three quarterbacks to win four Super Bowls with the same team. He has been the face of his franchise for the better part of 15 seasons and has been the best quarterback of a generation that included Peyton and Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers.

Which is why Brady is making the right move by swallowing his pride and taking the high road back home to the Bay Area to be alongside the all-time greats. He’s earned these honors through his accomplishments and deserves to be celebrated as one of the best to ever step on the field.

Kyle DaLuz can be reached at kdaluz@umass.edu, and followed on Twitter @Kyle_DaLuz.

Signing Day 2016: UMass announces 2016 signees

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Collegian File Photo

Throughout the day, the Massachusetts football team will announce its 2016 recruiting class. Here is a list of current Minutemen signees, accompanied by a brief description. This is Mark Whipple’s recruiting recruiting class as UMass head coach.

DB – Antione Webster, 6-feet, 185 pounds, Miami, Florida

Webster is the first commit of the day for the Minutemen and will add depth to its young defensive back core. Webster, a 3-star recruit in high school also had offers from Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Oregon State, Syracuse and West Virginia amongst others.

Check out his highlight tape here.

LB/RB – Taylor Riggins, 6-foot-3, 213 pounds, Rochester, New York

Riggings joins the Minutemen as a 3-star recruit out of high school that will play linebacker. Riggins initially committed to Syracuse in the summer of 2015 according to 247sports.com.

Although listed as both a running back and linebacker coming out of high school, Riggins will turn his focus to defense when he gets to Amherst with the pileup of running backs already committed to the Minutemen.

Check out his high school tape here.

TE – Taylor Edwards, 6-foot-4, 228 pounds, Wilmington, Delaware

According to 247Sports.com, Edwards received interest from 12 different schools and offers from six before the 3-star recruit committed to UMass on Sept. 24. Edwards previously verbally committed in July after the annual Clam Bake, but he followed up a week later saying he had not committed anywhere. He later confirmed his commitment to the Minutemen in September.

Edwards is a pass-catching threat as more of a wide receiver/tight end hybrid. You can see his highlights here.

DB – Isaiah Rodgers, 5-foot-11, 160 pounds, Tampa, Florida

Whipple and his staff spent plenty of time in the Sunshine State, adding Rodgers to UMass’ deep list of expected Florida recruits. Rodgers committed in late December and is listed as a 2-star recruit by 247Sports. Along with playing at outside corner, he had plenty of experience as a punt returner in high school and was a constant danger to the defense.

Here’s some highlights from his senior season at Blake High School

 

DE – Charly Timite, 6-foot-3, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Timite is a 3-star recruit out of high school and could instantly make an impact as a defensive end. He also had received interest from Boston College, Penn State and Rutgers amongst others.

Check out his highlight tape here.

TE – Cody Banks, 6-foot-7, 260 pounds, Richmond, Virginia 

Right off the bat nothing stands out more with Banks than his 6-foot-7, 260-pound frame. The Minutemen’s offense didn’t look or operate the same without Jean Sifrin this past year, and with Rodney Mills graduating Banks has the potential to be a key part in Whipple’s pro-style offense.

In addition to UMass, Banks also held offers from Maryland and North Carolina State amongst other schools. You can check out Banks’ highlight videos here.

WR – Brennon Dingle, 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, Baltimore, Maryland

Despite his small size, Dingle, a 3-star recruit, had an offer from Maryland and drew interest from Cincinnati, Ohio State, Pennsylvania State and West Virginia before committing to UMass in mid-August, according to 247Sports.He is perhaps the best of UMass’ receiving group it hopes to make official today.

You can check out highlights of the speedy receiver’s senior season at Perry Hall High School here.

 

DB – Cycoby Burch, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Orlando, Florida

Burch is one of the more heralded recruits in this year’s crop as a 3-star recruit, according to 247Sports and ESPN. The safety drew offers from eight other schools – including Wisconsin, North Carolina and West Virginia – and committed to UMass on Dec. 14. According to the Maroon Musket, Burch is highest-rated defensive back to commit to the Minutemen in their short time in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Burch will join a young secondary corps including sophomores Brandon Mangram and James Oliphant who will need to fill the shoes of departing seniors Randall Jette, Trey Dudley-Giles and Joe Colton. Here’s some video of Burch.

S – Patrick Volcy, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Naples, Florida

Volcy is another Florida product out of Golden Gate High School. He committed to UMass Dec. 18 and is rated a 2-star recruit by 247Sports.

Check out his highlights here.

WR – Infinite Tucker, 6-foot-5, 198 pounds, Huntington, New York

Tucker adds to UMass’ list of receiving recruits as a 2-star prospect, according to 247Sports. He signed his letter of intent this morning.

Here’s some highlights on Tucker, who lined up at wide receiver and running back in high school.

DL – Sharif Saleem, 6-foot-7, 250 pounds, Cleveland, Ohio

Saleem brings legitimate size and athleticism at the defensive end position. He originally committed to Bowling Green last May but decommitted and opted for UMass in December. According to 247Sports, Saleem, who also played wide receiver in high school, is a 2-star recruit at strong-side defensive end.

OL – Raquan Thomas, 6-foot-4, 345 pounds, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

With center Matt Sparks graduating and left tackle Tyrell Smith leaving the program, the Minutemen will have some new faces on their offensive line. Thomas played left tackle in high school but could be used at other positions along the offensive line when he arrives in Amherst.

Check out some of his high school highlight’s here.

CB – Martin Mangram, 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, Buford, Georgia 

Mangram adds depth to a secondary that will look very different than last season for UMass. With defensive backs Randall Jette, Kelton Brackett, Joey Colton and Trey Dudley-Giles leaving, Mangram will join the young group of DB’s with Jordin Hamilton and James Oliphant that showed promise at the end of 2015.

Mangram held offers from many other schools with Illinois, Iowa State, Maryland and Syracuse topping the list. Check out his highlight tapes here.

RB – Tyler Thompson, 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, Oakhurst, New Jersey

The Minutemen have made it clear that this recruiting class had a major focus about adding speed to their offense. Thompson, a 3-star running back, also received offers from power-five schools such as Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt and Virginia. Thompson joins running backs Sekai Lindsay and Marquis Young in what has potential to be a very talented and deep group of backs.

Check out his highlight tape here.

DL — Leyshawn Askew, 6-foot-6, 285 pounds, Wayne, New Jersey
Askew was one of UMass’ first commits back in late July following his attendance at the Minutemen’s annual Clam Bake. The defensive tackle was rated as a 3-star player by both ESPN.com and 247Sports and also received an offer from Temple, according to 247Sports. With the graduation of Robert Kitching III, there may be some snaps available on the defensive line for Askew as he competes for playing time in his freshman year.

You can watch a highlight video of him here.

RB – Peytton Pickett, 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, Arlington, Texas

Another talented back joins UMass after receiving other offers from Kansas, Southern Methodist and the University of Texas at El Paso. Like Thompson, Pickettt adds a lot of speed to the Minutemen backfield that Whipple will have at his disposure to mix and max with different packages.

Pickett’s highlight videos can be seen here.

QB – Andrew Ford, 6-foot-3, 211 pounds, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

Many people thought that when the season was over that Ross Comis was going to be handed the key’s to the offense that was held by Blake Frohnapfel for the past two seasons. But Ford, a pro-style quarterback, will make camp interesting for Whipple in which will likely be the most noteworthy competition.

Ford was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school and had inititially committed to Virginia Tech before transferring to Lackawanna Community College. Ford will have three years left of eligibility remaining at UMass.

Check out his highlights here.

RB – Bilal Ally, 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Green Cove Springs, Florida

Ally is one of many talented running backs to join the Minutemen’s 2016 recruiting class. Ally also had offers from Cincinnati and Georgia Tech before ultimately deciding UMass.

Check out his high school highlight videos here.

CB – Bakhari Goodson, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Apopka, Florida

Goodson is a non-ranked defensive back that joins UMass’ young group of cornerbacks. Goodson has good speed and vision and will compete for spots on both defense and potentially various special teams units.

Check out his highlight package here.

DL – Larnel Coleman, 6-foot-7, 249 pounds, Malden, Massachusetts

Coleman is another player UMass locked up today without an initial verbal commitment. A defensive end, he doesn’t have to travel far to Amherst from Malden, where he played at St. Clement High School. He brings size at 6-foot-7 and athleticism as a high school basketball player.

Check out some highlights of Coleman here.

RB – Tyshaun Ingram, 6-foot, 185 pounds, Winter Park, Florida

With the departures of Shadrach Abrokwah and Lorenzo Woodley from the football team, as announced last month, UMass still boasts talent among the running back group led by sophomores Marquis Young and Sekai Lindsay. Ingram hopes to add to this as a 2-star recruit with a mix of speed and power. He held offers from six schools including Bowling Green, Florida A&M and North Dakota State.

Click here for his highlight video.

TE – Avien Peah, 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Providence, Rhode Island

Peah, a 3-star recruit according to 247Sports, committed to UMass Aug. 2, leaving offers from Bryant and Rhode Island on the table. He’s a pass-catching threat that played on both sides of the ball in high school at La Salle Academy – he played tight end, fullback and defensive end. With Rodney Mills – the Minutemen’s do-it-all weapon on offense – graduating at the end of this year, Peah may have an opportunity to cease playing time at tight end.

Here’s a link to Peah’s senior year highlight package.

 

DL – T.J. Rayam, 6-foot-1, 308 pounds, Alabaster, Alabama

UMass got some strength up the middle to add to its group of incoming defensive linemen in Rayam, who lined up at defensive tackled and defensive end in high school. He’s unrated by ESPN and 247Sports but drew some interest from a number of Southeastern Conference schools before committing to the Minutemen this morning.

You can check out some highlights here.

DL – Ali Ali-Musa, 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, Garden City, New York

Ali-Musa, a JUCO prospect previously from Nassau Community College, signed his letter of intent in mid-December to become an early enrollee at UMass, spurning offers from multiple schools including Mid-American Conference programs Buffalo and Northern Illinois. 247Sports rates him as a 3-star recruit and he has shown the ability to line up at multiple spots on the defensive line.

You can watch his highlight video here.

DB – Patrick Amara, 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Amara comes to UMass as an early enrollee after transferring from Pittsburgh in mid-January after his sophomore season. He will be forced to sit out the entirety of the 2016 season, per NCAA regulations, but he will return the following year with two years remaining of eligibility.

Amara lined up at safety in 20 games for the Panthers over two seasons and had 32 tackles to go along with an interception. Down the road, Amara can prove to be a valuable and experienced addition to the Minutemen’s secondary.

Check out his highlights here.

LB – James Bowe, Jr., 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Miami, Florida

It appears UMass is trying to build a pipeline in Florida, adding Bowe to the list of Sunshine State signees. Bowe actually originally committed to the Minutemen at last year’s signing day and joins UMass this year as an early signee. Per UMass, Bowe is expected to bring physicality and leadership.

Here’s some highlights of him.

DL/LB – Leon Flanagan, 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Staten Island, New Jersey

Flanagan brings versatility as an outside linebacker/defensive end from high school. He is one of UMass’ six early signees who is enrolled at the University for the spring semester. Unranked by ESPN and 247Sports, he committed to the Minutemen July 25 following the annual Clam Bake.

Check out a highlight video from his time at Curtis High School in Staten Island, New York here.

OL – James Reilly, 6-foot-4, 285 pounds, Norwell, Massachusetts

UMass adds to its offensive line with early signee and Massachusetts native James Reilly, an unrated recruit by 247Sports and ESPN. UMass special teams coach Mark Michaels, who recruited Reilly, said Reilly needs to continue working on his technique but is a “nice prospect” moving forward.

Here’s some tape on the offensive guard most recently out of Fox Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia.

DB – Tedrick Lowery, 6-foot, 225 pounds, Austin, Texas

UMass reached out to the Lone Star state to pick up JUCO prospect Tedrick Lowery out of Tyler Junior College. Lowery is an early signee who is a 2-star recruit by 247Sports. The Minutemen have liked using a nickel package in the past – notably with graduating senior Joe Colton – with a safety playing a hybrid linebacker position. Lowery may fit this mold.

Watch Lowery’s highlights here.

WR – Sadiq Palmer, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Little Silver, New Jersey

With Tajae Sharpe graduating – and likely getting drafted in the 2016 NFL draft – UMass will need to finds its new go to receiver very quickly.

It’s also worth noting that assistant coach Dave Sollazzo did compare Palmer to Sharpe at the Minutemen’s signing day.

Palmer has good size and speed and could potentially play both inside and outside the numbers. Palmer also had offers from Old Dominion and Syracuse.

Check out his high school highlights here.

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at achiusano@umass.edu, and followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.

Andrew Cyr can be reached at arcyr@umass.edu, and followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.

 

Lost weekend leaves more questions than answers for UMass hockey

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(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

Massachusetts hockey captain Steven Iacoebllis perfectly described UMass’ season following its 5-4 loss against Maine Saturday night at Mullins Center.

“We had a lot of belief tonight, but we just didn’t end up with the result we wanted,” Iacobellis said.

The Minutemen (7-16-4, 2-11-4 Hockey East) have now lost their eighth straight game, with their last win coming Jan. 2 and last Hockey East win coming back on Nov. 7. With New Hampshire’s stunning 3-1 upset over No. 4 Providence Saturday night, UMass is now in sole possession of last place in the conference.

That title was previously held by the Black Bears (7-15-6, 4-8-2 HEA), who were winless on the road before coming to Amherst this weekend and sweeping the Minutemen in convincing fashion in a two-game series at Mullins.

Saturday night’s 5-4 loss was more competitive than the 5-2 defeat UMass suffered on Friday night, but throughout the weekend there was no doubt to who the better team was. Led by forward Blaine Byron (two goals, three assists in the series), Maine dominated Friday night, staying in control the whole game. Saturday, there was belief as Iacobellis said, but no result. At this point in the season – and against this opponent, the previously last place Black Bears – nothing but a win was going to be good enough.

“Every game is just as important as the next,” Iacobellis. “It’s unfortunate we dropped both without getting anything this weekend, but we’re looking forwards to next weekend and every opponent is a big opponent.”

It’s the right thing to say, and the right attitude for a captain to have. Even if nobody would admit it, the Minutemen were counting on this weekend to get things back on track. But they couldn’t, and they won’t play another team as far down in the standings as Maine for the rest of the season.

The Minutemen are going to have to come to grips with their position in the standings. After a season that started with promise after starting the season with a 6-2-1 record UMass is now in a freefall, and the scary news is there might not be an end in sight.

Next up is a home game against the Terriers, who are a national powerhouse that has given the Minutemen fits over the past few seasons.

After that is a non-conference matchup in Springfield against American International. In theory, it’s a game UMass should win – but so were the two against last-place Maine at home.

The trip to Spingfield will be nothing compared to the gauntlet the Minutemen will face to end the season. They’ll play a home-and-home series against red-hot Northeastern (8-1-2 in its last 11 games) before traveling to No. 9 UMass Lowell for a non-conference game.

Oh, and UMass will end the season with a home-and-home against No. 4 Providence, the defending national champions.

It’s been a tough second half of the season for the Minutemen, and there’s still potential for it to get even worse. If UMass can’t take any points against a team like Maine, how can they expect to be competitive against BU or Providence?

The answer to that question probably isn’t pretty. And the lost weekend against the Black Bears did nothing to help answer it.

Ross Gienieczko can be reached at rgieniec@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @RossGien.

By ross gienieczko Posted in Misc.

UMass hockey falls 5-4 to Maine, gets swept in weekend home series

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(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

Things were supposed to be different this weekend.

This was supposed to be the weekend when things got back on track for the Massachusetts hockey team.

But it didn’t.

Instead, the Minutemen (7-16-4, 2-11-4 Hockey East) dropped two consecutive home games to formerly last-place Maine, falling to the Black Bears (7-15-6, 4-8-2 HEA) 5-4 Saturday night, just 24 hours after being defeated 5-2.

UMass is now in sole possession of last place in the conference with eight points with only five hockey east games remaining.

Heading into the third period down 3-2, the Minutemen was given a major opportunity to knot the game at three when they were rewarded a power play a mere 19 seconds into the period.

But it was Maine forward Blaine Byron who found the back of the net on a shorthanded effort to extend the lead to 4-2.

UMass coach John Micheletto noted the ability by his team to cut the lead to one not once, but twice, but ultimately knew it wasn’t good enough.

“It was big, ” Micheletto said recalling the Black Bears’ fourth goal. “As you’re narrowing the lead and we’ve been taking the action to them for the previous period and a half, obviously we can’t fall asleep even for a second to give them an opportunity there. They took advantage as teams are apt to do.”

One night after scoring two goals with the man advantage, the Minutemen went 0-5 on their power play opportunities, stringing together five shots in 10 minutes of time while being on the one-man advantage.

When asked what the difference was on special teams tonight, there was a 15 second pause before Micheletto could answer.

“No real difference in what they were doing,” Micheletto said. “Yesterday we moved pucks with a little bit better purpose and allowed us to then take advantage of seams and miscommunications to adjust.”

Micheletto later used the word “stagnant” to describe his team’s effort on the power play on Saturday.

“I think we did have some opportunities and just weren’t able to capitalize on them,” he added. “That’s the way the power play goes, 12 shots one night, you get five the next. It helped us last night and bit us in the rear end tonight.”

Maine extended its lead to 5-3 with 4:15 when Maine’s Nolan Vesey scored on a power play after Patrick Lee was called for hooking.

Ivan Chukarov scored with 33 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 5-4, however couldn’t rally to score the game-tying goal.

However one of the major turning points in the game came in the second period when a Steven Iacobellis goal appeared to cut the lead to 3-2, but was waved off due to goaltender interference.

“There was incidental contact between one of our players and the goaltender off of the first shot which prevented him from playing in his position on the second shot,” Micheletto said when asked what the explanation was given to him by the referees. “The unfortunate thing is I don’t think it would’ve mattered, contact or no contact, but that’s the rules.”

He added: “I’ll be ok if we kick the plug out of the instant replay machine moving forward at this place. It has not been kind to us over the course of the last handful of games.”

At the other end of the spectrum, this was a highlight weekend for Maine, which picked up its first two road wins of the season to climb out of last place in the conference.

“I think it means a lot,” Black Bears coach Red Gendron said. “We’ve had a lot of games this year where we played well enough to win on the road and at home, and didn’t score or took too many penalties at the wrong time.”

For Iacobellis and the rest of UMass, the message remains the same: keep positive.

“Obviously that’s what everybody says, but it’s true and people say it for a reason, because it’s what you have to do,” Iacobellis said. “We had a lot of belief tonight and we just didn’t end up getting the result that we wanted, but as long as we keep doing the little things right, we’re going to bounce out of it for sure.”

Jason Kates can be reached at jkates@umass.edu and followed @Jason_Kates.

UMass men’s basketball loses seventh straight in overtime loss to Fordham

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(Makoto Yabusaki/Daily Collegian)

Donte Clark gave the Massachusetts men’s basketball team a second chance to snap its six-game losing streak.

It didn’t matter.

UMass (8-12, I-7 Atlantic 10) dropped its seventh straight game Saturday afternoon, falling to Fordham 78-72 in overtime, as the Minutemen have not won a game since Jan. 3. Their last seven-losing streak was in the 2003-04 season.

Christian Sengfelder provided the dagger, drilling a corner 3-pointer in front of the Rams (12-8. 3-6 A-10) bench with 52 seconds remaining in overtime to give Fordham a 72-67 lead, putting the game out of reach for UMass.

“I think we just didn’t make enough good basketball plays to win a game. They made some plays and we didn’t,” Minutemen coach Derek Kellogg said.

“I think we’re playing hard enough to win at times and compete at a pretty good clip, but I think we just have to play better basketball at different junctures of the game.”

The game would have ended in regulation but Clark drilled a 3-pointer in front of the UMass bench after Trey Davis drove into the lane to find an open Clark with 8.8 seconds remaining.

The Minutemen had just 11 field goal makes in the second half and overtime after Antwan Space made a buzzer-beating three-quarter-court shot at the end of the first half to tie the game at 32.

With Fordham’s top two players – Ryan Rhoomes and Mandell Thomas – combining for just 15 points, the Rams received solid contributions from Joseph Chartouny, who finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. David Pekarek, who averaged three points per game entering Saturday finished with 11 points including three made 3-pointers.

Both teams spent most of the day at the free throw line as UMass went 21-for-30 from the line while the Rams finished 21-for-31. Fordham attacked the Minutemen’s interior all game after Clark and Davis had been playing with four fouls for the last 4:56 of the game.

“There are different types of teams in the Atlantic 10. There are many shot blockers in the Atlantic 10 and we’ve seen those teams and they’re hard to attack. UMass is not a shot-blocking team,” Rams coach Jeff Neubauer said.

He added: “They were also switching some screens, so we had some good matchups at times. We absolutely wanted to attack them. Our mentality coming in was we had to get some buckets at the rim at some point. Our guys did a good job down the stretch of getting those baskets.”

Davis led all UMass scorers with 21 points, shooting 12-of-14 from the foul line despite a dismal 4-of-13 from the field. After a slow start, Clark finished with 19 points.

The Minutemen held a 59-58 lead with 1:40 remaining after a pair of Davis’ free throws, but the Rams answered two possessions later when Thomas converted a layup with 47 seconds to go to regain the lead.

Fordham led by as many as 10 after a 11-2 run with 7:44 remaining in the first half, but UMass countered with an 11-0 run of its own over the next 3:37 with baskets from Clark, Rashaan Holloway, C.J. Anderson and Seth Berger. In his second consecutive start Anderson led the Minutemen with 11 rebounds, the next closest being Antwan Space with six.

As a team UMass shot just 5-of-27 from the 3-point range with Clark, Davis and Jabarie Hinds combining to go 4-of-19. Hinds finished with just two points in 15 minutes off the bench.

“You can’t look down or look backwards, so I’m just going to continue moving forward and try to bring these guys along. Hopefully they’ll come along with me,” Davis said.

Andrew Cyr can be reached at arcyr@umass.edu, and followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.

Defense near the rim breaks down late for UMass in overtime loss to Fordham

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(Makoto Yabusaki/Daily Collegian)

There seemed to be a glimmer of hope for the Massachusetts basketball team Saturday afternoon that it might put an end to its six-game losing streak that has quickly derailed its once promising 5-1 start.

Sophomore guard Donte Clark knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner, UMass’ first of the second half, with 8.8 seconds remaining in regulation to tie Saturday’s game against Fordham at 63 to send it to overtime.

But the lift of Clark’s last-second heroics didn’t carry over to the extra period for the Minutemen (8-12, 1-7 Atlantic 10), who were outscored 15-9 in the extra period in their 78-72 loss at Mullins Center.

UMass was outscored 36-32 in the paint by an aggressive Rams attack that went to the free throw line 31 times off of consistent drives past Minutemen guards into an open lane. In overtime, 11 of Fordham’s points were scored off layups or at the free throw line.

“I thought our post presence on defense was lacking at the end there. Our guards were letting them into the paint a little bit too easy and that kind of hurt us some,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “Tyler (Bergantino) probably played too many minutes or didn’t have enough gas to come over and make a few of those big blocks that honestly you need to make if you’re going to win.”

The Minutemen’s struggle down low toward the end of regulation and into overtime was something Fordham coach Jeff Neubauer said the Rams were cognizant of heading into Saturday’s matinee.

“There are different types of teams in the Atlantic 10. There are many shot blockers in the Atlantic 10 and we’ve seen those teams and they’re hard to attack,” Neubauer said. “UMass is not a shot-blocking team. And they were also switching some screens, so we had some good matchups at times.

He added: “We absolutely wanted to attack them. Our mentality coming in was we had to get some buckets at the rim at some point. Our guys did a good job down the stretch of getting those baskets.”

Tyler Bergantino played the majority of minutes at center for UMass (28) while stretch-forward Antwan Space (39) and Rashaan Holloway (11) also spent time guarding the rim.

At guard, both Trey Davis (21 points) and Donte Clark (19) were slowed by foul trouble in the later stages of the game, with Clark fouling out early in overtime and Davis sitting with four. The Minutemen committed 28 combined fouls.

“Obviously we’ve struggled at times with foul trouble. Twenty-eight of them again this game, that’s the same as last game,” Kellogg said. “It did seem like a few of the guys that had four fouls were struggling to guard the ball whether it was Trey, Donte or even C.J. (Anderson) a couple times got a beat. In those situations you either need to come up with a big block or something and we didn’t make the winning plays to win a basketball game coming down the stretch tonight.”

Neubauer maintained that he wasn’t fully aware of the extent of UMass’ foul trouble – Holloway and Space also finished with four – until after the game and that it didn’t affect the Rams’ aggressive mentality.

“You know what, I actually I don’t know. I was aware that Clark fouled out. Other than that, I wasn’t aware of the foul trouble,” Neubauer said. “So I don’t know what effect it had. I’ll watch the film. Maybe it did help us.”

UMass didn’t receive much more help in the post on the offensive end, as the trio of Bergantino, Space and Holloway combined for 18 points Saturday. Bergantino had nine of them on 4-of-4 shooting.

“We were 5-of-27 from 3, obviously we are lacking a little bit of post scoring at times and we are relying on (the guards) to make some 3s. When you’re shooting 18 percent, and that’s a lot of your offense, I think you’re going to struggle,” Kellogg said.

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at achiusano@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.