UMass Basketball Monday Notebook: Minutemen Cruise Past Northern Illinois

Clyde Santee (right) soars in for two of his 13 points on Saturday. - Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Minutemen had just one game this week, cruising to victory over lowly NIU.

The UMass Minutemen cruised in their lone game this past week, crushing Northern Illinois 80-54 and exacting some revenge after the drubbing NIU handed the Minutemen in football. Other than a small bit of satisfaction, the win gave UMass the opportunity to look at the future of its program by letting the young guns get some run.

Clyde Santee, Seth Berger and Demetrius Dyson have all seen very limited time this season, averaging 1.8, 1.6, and 3.0 minutes per game, respectively. Saturday didn't offer much more playing time, but in at least one case it offered drastically different results.

Santee scored the final 13 points of the game for UMass, a total that accounted for the first 13 points of his career. His first basket, a three from the wing, pushed him past Berger's point total and into the lead amongst freshmen. Did it earn him some extra run as the season wears on? That remains to be seen, but Derek Kellogg recognizes that Santee's strength is as a shooter and if this run of form continues, he could be an impact player off the bench.

"He’s had some days and then he’s had some days where he hasn’t hit the broad side of a barn," Kellogg said. "So, I just ask him to continue to work hard (because) his opportunity’s going to come.

"I tell him, ‘Your reputation is a shooter, but you can’t go through A, B and C and not make shots. That’s what you do.’ Really, for him, it’s staying focused every day and come in locked in like he did today, not just on game day."

For a solid recap of the game, be sure to read the Maroon Musket, Daily Hampshire Gazette, and recaps of the game.

Inside the Box Score

  • Saturday's game was the second-slowest outing of the year for the Minutemen as they managed 69 possessions, per Basketball State. UMass has only been slower against Eastern Michigan (69) and Clemson (68) this year. UMass is averaging 77 possessions per game on the year and have proven they can play -- and win -- at anyone's pace.
  • Maxie Esho grabbed at least five rebounds for the eighth time this season, grabbing seven to go with 12 points off the bench. Esho is grabbing 15.8 of missed shots while he is on the floor which is good for 12th in the Atlantic 10 despite playing the 68th most minutes. His 5.6 rebounds per game is second on the team.
  • UMass' Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) was 57.8 on Saturday, good for its third-best performance of the season. eFG% factors in the type of shots players take, weighting free throws and threes differently than twos.

MAC Redemption Tour Update

  • WIN - UMass 69, Eastern Michigan 57.
  • WIN - UMass 80, Northern Illinois 54.
  • Dec. 18 at Ohio, 7:00 p.m.
  • Jan. 4 vs. Miami, 7:00 p.m.

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