FACTS & STATS: Site: Mullins Center (9,493) -- Amherst, Massachusetts.
Television: ESPN2. Home Record: SJU 7-3, UMass 7-2. Away Record: SJU 5-4,
UMass 6-2. Neutral Record: SJU 1-1, UMass 2-2. Conference Record: SJU 4-4,
UMass 5-3. Series Record: UMass leads, 32-29.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams looking to keep pace in the crowded Atlantic 10
Conference standings will meet up at the Mullins Center, as the Massachusetts
Minutemen play host to the Saint Joseph's Hawks.
Entering this week, the top 11 teams in the A-10 were separated by a mere two
Saint Joseph's saw its three-game winning streak come to a halt in Wednesday's
60-54 road loss at Dayton. The Hawks, who are a respectable 5-4 in road games
this season, will return home to face Richmond this Wednesday.
Meanwhile, UMass has won three of its last four to move into a tie for second
place. The Minutemen were also in action on Wednesday night, as they cruised
to an 81-53 victory over Rhode Island.
In terms of the all-time series between these two squads, UMass holds a narrow
Despite leading by seven with 12 minutes to play against Dayton on Wednesday,
the Hawks were simply unable to come up with key buckets late in the game, as
they were held off the scoreboard for a span of nearly six minutes in the
second half. UD's Kevin Dillard hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with just over two
minutes to play, and he scored six more points down the stretch to keep SJU at
bay. Carl Jones and C.J. Aiken were the only double-digit scorers for the
Hawks, finishing with 12 and 11 points, respectively. On the season, Jones
leads the team with 14.9 points per game, while Langston Galloway is close
behind with 13.7 ppg. That duo has combined for nearly 60 percent of SJU's 3-
pointers. Down low, Aiken (11.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Ronald Roberts (11.1 ppg,
8.8 rpg) lead the way.
UMass has been without second-leading scorer Jesse Morgan (13.4 ppg) since
mid-January, when the junior guard was lost for the season with a torn right
knee ligament. Morgan was able to stretch defenses by averaging nearly three
3-pointers a game, and the Minutemen have missed his outside presence. Still,
leading scorer Chaz Williams (16.4 ppg) is a 38.2-percent shooter from beyond
the arc (34-of-89), while Terrell Vinson (11.9 ppg) has also picked up some of
the slack. Earlier this week, UMass posted its highest point total since Dec.
22 thanks to a collective 52-percent shooting effort from the floor, which
included 9-of-19 accuracy from long range (.474). UMass also won the
rebounding battle over URI, 38-27. Williams had a game-high 27 points to go
along with eight assists in the victory.
The challenge for both of these teams has been carrying over a strong
performance from one game to the next. The Hawks thought they had things
figured out with their recent three-game winning streak, while the Minutemen
hope to build on Wednesday's effort.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Massachusetts 76, Saint Joseph's 72