This is a game that had extreme negatives and extreme positives. In the end, the Minutemen are extremely fortunate to get out of this one with a win. At times, the team’s play could certainly be described by the image above.
The Bobcats had a 12-2 run in the middle of the 1st half. This UMass team is far better at putting this type of run in their rear-view than they were a year ago. Over the remainder of the 1st half, UMass couldn’t gain any traction. It was a back and forth game. The most disturbing part of the game was how Quinnipiac could keep UMass out of the paint with their interior defense. It was block after block for the Bobcats for a while.
At the end of the half the Minutemen trailed 36-40. The back and forth hoop-for-hoop basketball would end abruptly to start the 2nd half.
So not to be outdone by the Bobcats first half run, UMass opened up the second half with an extraordinary 21-1 run. You are reading that correctly; 21-1. It game UMass a 57-41 lead, as Quinnipiac missed their first 7 shots.
The run that netted the team 20 points was impressive, but it was simply the way the team came out that was the best sign. The ending to the 1st half was not exactly encouraging. Coach Kellogg and his team put that on the back burner and came to play to start the 2nd half.
The team couldn’t effectively close out the game, though. Something changed shortly before the under 8 minute TV timeout. UMass began walking the ball up the court. Additionally, the Minutemen stopped pressuring on defense. These are inexplicable. Why the change from Coach Kellogg?
Consequently, the Bobcats cut the lead to 6 as the under 4 minute timeout neared. From there UMass continued the laissez faire attitude. This allowed Quinnipiac to have possession of the ball in a once score game with under one minute to go.
It’s hard to tell, but this might go down as a blunder by Kellogg and the coaches. Regardless, we are lucky we aren’t talking about a loss to Quinnipiac today. As solid a team as they are, this isn’t a team this program can be losing to at this time. Especially at home. Another learning opportunity for Kellogg’s crew.