Derek Kellogg

VIDEO: Hinds, UMass hold off Rhode Island at A-10 tournament

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With a record below .500, No. 10 seed Massachusetts is at a point where the only way in which they’ll reach postseason play is by winning the Atlantic 10 tournament. It’s a longshot to say the least, but Derek Kellogg’s Minutemen kept the dream alive with a 67-62 win over No. 7 seed Rhode Island in the second round of the Atlantic 10 tournament Thursday night.

Trey Davis’ three-pointer with 32.7 seconds remaining gave UMass the cushion they needed to hang on for the win in a game they led by as much as 18 points in the first half. Jabarie Hinds, who scored 16 points in the first half, finished with a game-high 21 points and Davis added 20 for UMass. Next up for the Minutemen is No. 2 seed VCU in Friday’s quarterfinal round.

Four McGlynn scored 16 points for the Rams, who dropped to 17-15 on the season. McGlynn shot just 5-for-17 from the field, with fellow guard Jared Terrell scoring 14 points on 5-for-16 shooting. As a team the Rams shot just 34.9 percent from the field and 4-for-21 from beyond the arc.

Friday’s quarterfinal round at the Atlantic 10 tournament can be seen on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

WATCH LIVE: UMass visits La Salle in A-10 opener for both on NBCSN

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Four more teams will begin Atlantic 10 conference play Sunday afternoon, two of which being the UMass Minutemen and the La Salle Explorers. The Minutemen and Explorers face off at Tom Gola Arena at 5:00 p.m. Eastern in a game that can be seen on NBCSN, and it’s also available of NBC Sports Live Extra.

Derek Kellogg’s Minutemen enter league play having won two of their last three games, and they’re led by the experienced guard triumvirate of Jabarie Hinds, Trey Davis and Donte Clarke. Those three combine to average nearly 53 points per game for UMass, which is averaging 80 points per game on the season.

WATCH LIVE: UMass vs. La Salle on NBC Sports Live Extra

La Salle will counter with one of the nation’s highest scorers in junior guard Jordan Price, who’s currently averaging 22.8 points per game. Fellow guards Cleon Roberts and Johnnie Shuler are also scoring in double figures, serving as supplementary scorers to the high-scoring Price.

La Salle’s lost five straight games, with their lack of depth being an issue, and UMass will look to exploit that today. This game can be watched on NBC Sports Live Extra by clicking here.

UMass unveils special uniforms for Wednesday’s game

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With this season marking the 20th anniversary of their trip to the Final Four, UMass will honor former head coach John Calipari Wednesday night at halftime of their game against New Orleans. The school will raise a banner in Calipari’s honor and the current Kentucky head coach will be in attendance at Mullins Center as his current team is won’t play its next game until Saturday against Ohio State in Brooklyn.

Tuesday afternoon it was announced that the Minutemen will wear special jerseys for the game, bringing back the cursive “UMass” script worn by Calipari’s 1995-96 team.

Of course Wednesday’s festivities do have some objectors, as UMass’ trip to the Final Four was eventually vacated after it was found that Marcus Camby, that season’s winner of the Naismith and Wooden awards, received money from an agent. Calipari was found by the NCAA to have done nothing wrong himself, but that hasn’t stopped some from questioning whether or not the coach should be honored by UMass.

Earlier this year there was a similar situation at Memphis, where the school announced that it would honor Calipari for his accomplishments there before changing their minds the following day as a result of fans voicing their displeasure. Calipari, who won five Atlantic 10 regular season and five Atlantic 10 tournament titles while at UMass, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September.

Current UMass head coach Derek Kellogg played for Calipari at the school from 1991-95.

Calipari gives recruiting pitch for UMass

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John Calipari’s is one of 11 new members being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night in Springfield. Calipari began the day of his enshrinement 30 minutes up the road at UMass, where his head coaching career began 27 years ago.

On Friday morning, the university hosted Calipari for an honorary breakfast, celebrating the coach’s achievements. Calipari made a gesture of his own, providing a recruiting pitch on behalf of his old school after taking a tour of the basketball team’s brand-new practice facilities.

“I’ve gotta show you UMass’ new practice facility. One of the best I’ve seen,” Calipari posted on his Facebook and Twitter. “If you don’t go to Kentucky you should be going to UMass.”

Even after Calipari left UMass in 1996 to take over the New Jersey Nets, he remained connected to the school. Both of his daughters attended UMass, and the team’s current head coach, Derek Kellogg, was a former player and assistant coach.

UMass gave Calipari his first head coaching job in 1988. He started out roaming the sidelines of Curry Hicks Cage, the 4,000-seat arena that opened in 1931. The university opened its current home, the Mullins Center, in 1993. It served as the only construction Calipari witnessed in his time in Amherst.

“There was one new building in my eight years there, the Mullins Center,” Calipari said on Thursday at the Hall of Fame press conference. “Not a classroom building, not a dorm, nada. The Mullins Center. And it was a dogfight to get that thing built.

“Derek [Kellogg] just got a practice facility. I was in the cage with squirrels and birds when I was there. The lights would hum so loud you couldn’t hear the game.”

UMass will retire a jersey for Calipari during this upcoming season, which is the 20th anniversary of the Minutemen reaching the Final Four.

Former Texas A&M forward to complete eligibility at UMass

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With Cady Lalanne and Maxie Esho out of eligibility, adding an experienced body to the front court is something that would benefit UMass as head coach Derek Kellogg looks to put the finishing touches on the 2015-16 roster. That goal was accomplished Sunday afternoon, as former Texas A&M forward Antwan Space will use his final season of eligibility at the Atlantic 10 school.

News of Space’s commitment was first announced by the Urban DFW Elite grassroots program he played for before college, with the decision coming during a visit to the Amherst campus. With his undergraduate studies completed, Space will be eligible immediately for the Minutemen.

The 6-foot-8 Space, who began his college career at Florida State, saw his minutes decrease in his second season as a member of the Texas A&M program in 2014-15. Playing just over 12 minutes per game in 21 appearances, Space averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per contest for the Aggies.

With the aforementioned Lalanne and Esho moving on, rising sophomore Zach Coleman (10.3 mpg) and rising senior Tyler Bergantino (9.1 mpg) received the most playing time of UMass’ remaining front court players. Junior Seth Berger played in eight games (all starts) before going down with a season-ending left foot injury, and he’ll certainly factor into the rotation next season.

With the amount of production lost from last season, Space should have ample opportunities to be a key figure for the Minutemen as they look to improve upon their 17-15 record.

Freshman’s career afternoon helps UMass beat Rhode Island for seventh straight time (VIDEO)

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After committing his fourth foul of the game, UMass forward Maxie Esho (18 points, six rebounds) made his way to the bench with freshman Zach Coleman being inserted into the lineup by head coach Derek Kellogg. The loss of Esho could have been an issue for the Minutemen, but thanks to the efforts of Coleman they were able to pick up the 60-56 win at the Mullins Center.

Coleman scored 11 points in a stretch that lasted just over seven minutes, with Esho returning to the game with 1:53 remaining, and he finished the afternoon with 13 points. That represents a career high for Coleman, who prior to Saturday had scored in double figures just once in his UMass career and was averaging 2.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.

Rhode Island had an opportunity to tie the game at 59, but E.C. Matthews lost control of the ball before he could attempt a three-pointer. Trey Davis made one free throw on the other end, thus sealing the win for UMass. Hassan Martin scored 13 points and Matthews added 11 for URI, which has now lost two straight after dropping a close one to VCU on Wednesday.

The win was a much-needed one for the Minutemen, who are now tied with Rhode Island (3-2) in the Atlantic 10 standings with Dayton and VCU leading with way at 5-0. UMass has now won the last seven meetings in the series, with each of the last four being decided by five points or less.