The UMass Minutemen have been one the hardest teams to beat at home in college basketball this season. They entered Wednesday night's Atlantic 10 clash with a 8-0 record at the Mullins Center and by night's end, that mark was 9-0 as the Minutemen outclassed the visiting La Salle Explorers 79-67.
With such a one-sided game, we'll tackle some of the stray observations on the Minutemen's performance in notebook form that, much like an impressionist painting, will form the full picture when viewed together.
- Newly appointed sixth man Trey Davis made the most of Maxie Esho's injury by scoring 13 points in the first half and giving UMass the shot in the arm it needed without Esho in the fold. That added bit of responsibility could force some players to force things, not play their game. Not Davis, though. No, Davis just kept on keeping on with his third double-digit scoring game in the last three.
- Chaz Williams is breathtaking sometimes, let me tell you. There were instances where UMass gave up a basket, inbounded the ball, and before you knew what happened Williams was finishing the ball on the other end of the court -- sometimes uncontested. On one possession he missed a three horribly, but still had the best shot at saving the ball from going out of bounds. He's the fastest player on almost any court he steps on and has the heart to match. He's been a joy to watch, and probably twice the joy for Derek Kellogg to coach.
- Williams (17), Davis (13), Cady Lalanne (13), Derrick Gordon (12) and Sampson Carter (11) all scored in double digits while Raphiael Putney added eight. UMass is one of the least bench-reliant teams in the country and that is even reflected in blowouts like this. Deterius Dyson got himself a good look at a three and Tyler Bergantino added a tip in, but when you take out Esho and Davis the bench becomes very nondescript. This isn't a bad thing, but it does leave them with less options when things start slow.
- Steve Lappas on the color call of the game was a fun. The former UMass coach offers a unique perspective on the Atlantic 10, the Mullins Center and UMass basketball as a whole that is nice to see. If we could get Sean Grande and Lappas on every game, I'd be thrilled.
- Kudos to the crowd, who soldiered through a rough New England day to give the Mullins Center some life. If only they could bring that energy everywhere else UMass plays.