World News – USA – UMass is fresh off break and receives George Mason in exchange for Atlantic 10

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UMass Senior Guard Carl Pierre gathers his teammates during their loss to Bryant last week at the Mullins Center. UMass welcomes George Mason on Wednesday. CHRIS TUCCI / UMASS Athletics

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Last time the Minutemen allowed Bryant to shoot 58. 2 percent from the field – 69 percent in the first half – and couldn’t pull off a late comeback.

« Our approach for this game was that we were on the Christmas break. Our boys were looking forward to it, ”said UMass coach Matt McCall. “We knew how dangerous they were. Our defensive numbers need to improve dramatically. ”

That was more than a week ago. Some of the Minutemen went home for the vacation. Others spent their free time with the coaches and their families. They gathered again on Sunday and began massaging the issues that plagued them in their first four games.

“We have put a huge focus on defense over the past three or four days. We tweaked some things and now we’re doing things differently defensively, ”said McCall. « We are making progress and we have to do that. ”

The first training session after the vacation break is usually sluggish as many players recover from the trip. UMass brought back enthusiasm after his free time.

« In most cases the energy level is not what you would call high. Our boys, man on the 26th. , were amazing. They were bouncing around, ”said McCall. “You had great effort and energy. You have been rejuvenated. ”

The Minutemen (2-2, 1-0 Atlantic 10) are now directing this energy to the conference game. They host George Mason at 6 p.m.. m. (NESN, 105. 5 FM) on Wednesday. The Patriots (4-2), who play their first Atlantic 10 game, lost 68:65 to Norfolk State on Saturday.

« That was really disappointing, » said George Mason coach Dave Paulsen after the game. « We didn’t have the serenity we needed. ”

McCall singled out three areas that distinguished UMass gains from losses: selflessness, exertion, and recovery. The minutemen averaged 17. 5 assists per game for their wins and 14 for each defeat. You allowed 13. 5 more points per game in their winnings than the losses.

Two of these areas will rely on one of George Mason’s strengths: offensive rebound. The Patriots lead the A-10 at 12. 5 offensive rebounds per game and 36. 7 boards per competition, third in the league. UMass is 10. at 33. 8th.

« We need to make sure that possessions ended with rebounds, play hard, » said UMass in its sophomore year. J. . Weeks Jr. . said.

You will also have to deal with two high profile guards. Jordan Miller leads the team at 16. 5 points per game while Javon Greene scores 11 points. 8 ppg.

He has an average of 21. 8 points per game against the Minutemen in the last two years, 32 of them in a home win last year.

UMass had an eight-game losing streak against the Patriots in the teams’ last matchup in February. 9. The Minutemen will be Conference No.. 1 offense (85. 5 ppg) and top scorer (Tre Mitchell, 22. 5 ppg) into the matchup.

“It was good for everyone to take a step back. Our players have been through a lot since August. I was happy that our players could go home, the ones who could, ”said McCall. “We needed the practice time. There were many areas that we needed to improve. We have been doing that in the last few days. I was happy with our approach in practice. ”

DECK CANNOT BE FULL – UMass may not have the full list of Patriots. Kolton Mitchell was still on the COVID log on Tuesday, quarantined and waiting for negative tests, McCall said. He stressed that Mitchell doesn’t or has not had the virus, only the team is working on his guidelines after returning to Florida on vacation. He can play if he takes another negative test on Wednesday.

RUN AND RUN – On Wednesday the actual UMass conference schedule begins. Most of the Minutemen are scheduled for two games a week through early March, as long as there are no COVID complications. It will be a far cry from the four games UMass played in the first month of the season due to its quarantine and subsequent planning issues.

« They’re really able to get into a rhythm with your preparation, » said McCall. « You know what’s coming. ”

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UMass Minutemen Men’s Basketball, George Mason University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, College Basketball, UMass Minutemen and Minutewomen

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