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Duquesne Dukes vs. UMass Minutemen preview: Can UMass win six in a row?

UMass returns to the Mullins Center after a thrilling road win at St. Bonaventure.

UMass is coming into this game on cloud nine
UMass is coming into this game on cloud nine
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

That is how the Massachusetts Minutemen ended their last game against St. Bonaventure. The combination of the excitement from the UMass bench and the look of utter despair from the Bonnies had to make any Minutemen fan happy. There isn't too much time to celebrate for UMass though as they host the Duquense Dukes on Saturday at 4pm.

Records:

Duquesne Dukes 8-14 (3-8)

The Dukes are fresh off an impressive 78-62 thrashing of George Washington at home on Wednesday. This was quite the shock for the Colonials as the Dukes had lost seven of their last eight games, including a 95-69 blowout loss to Davidson. Their only other two conference wins have been against George Mason and St. Joe's.

UMass Minutemen 15-9 (8-3)

UMass has now won five games in a row and is tied atop the A-10 conference. This game could be a trap game for the Minutemen though. It is very easy to overlook a team that is just 3-8 in the conference. But with the Dukes recent win over GW and UMass' ability to beat teams in the bottom like Fordham hopefully they won't fall into the trap.

Players to watch:

Derrick Colter: The 5-11 junior guard is the Dukes leading scorer with 12.7 points per game and leading assist man at 3.2. He's also a very efficient scorer shooting 47.6 percent from the field and and an insane 50 percent from behind the arc on 100 attempts. He can obviously really shoot the basketball and can shoot his team to the win. He's coming off an 18 point effort against GW including 4-6 from deep.

Micah Mason: The Dukes second leading scorer is almost just as efficient as Colter. Mason averages 11 points, shooting 45.1 from the field and 42.9 from three. He takes six threes per game and when he and Colter are both on there is no stopping them. UMass will want to keep him from getting to the line where he is a 90.9 shooter. Mason had an even better game against GW than Colter with 24 points on 9-15 shooting and 4-7 from three.

Trey Davis: Here's a crazy stat of the day for Davis. He has not missed a free throw since the Rhode Island game on January 17th. He is the third leading scorer for UMass with 11.3 and the leading assist man at 3.8. As of late though he has played very nicely for the Minutemen. After his 26 point outburst against Fordham he has really cut down on his turnovers while still getting assists. He has just one turnover the last two games and averages 10 points, four boards, four assists and 1.5 steals. UMass plays better when Davis is firing on all cylinders so look for him to continue his good play.

Cady Lalanne: As usual Lalanne continues to be the key for UMass. Without his rebounding, rim protecting and low post scoring who knows where UMass would be. The Dukes don't have a real presence in the paint so look for Cady to get a lot of touches early and force Duquesne to collapse the defense around him. If Cady can get going early that will open the floor up for Donte Clark and Davis to have space beyond the arc to make their presence known.

Game time:

Just because Duquesne only has three wins in conference does not mean they aren't a threat. They average 70.7 points per game which is just more than UMass' 69.5. However, the UMass defense has really stepped up as they have slowed down their pace of play. The Dukes on the other hand are not exactly known for their defense. In conference play they have given up 75.27 points per game including giving up 100 to St. Bona and 95 to Davidson. UMass on the other hand is giving up just 62.6 points per game.

The UMass defense will be too much for the Dukes to handle as Cady Lalanne should have a field day down low on both sides of the ball. Kellogg should have enough time to develop a gameplan to contain Colter and Mason. It will be interesting to see who Derrick Gordon is put on to shut down.

The Minutemen have been a team playing on a mission the last five games and I don't see Duquesne getting in the way of winning six in a row. Prediction, 79-64 UMass.