Massachusetts (22-6) at Duquesne (12-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 5, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: A.J. Palumbo Center (4,406) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: UMass 11-1, Duquesne 6-8. Away Record: UMass 6-5, Duquesne 6-6. Neutral Record: UMass 5-0, Duquesne 0-1. Conference Record: UMass 9-5, Duquesne 4-10. Series Record: Massachusetts leads, 36-25.
GAME NOTES: The Massachusetts Minutemen will prepare for their regular-season finale with a final road game against the Duquesne Dukes in Atlantic 10 Conference action at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
UMass will need to stay focused on this contest, but it will be a tough considering a showdown with 17th-ranked and league-leading Saint Louis is slated for the weekend. The Minutemen had won three straight games before suffering an 86-79 road loss to Dayton last time out. They are now 22-6 overall, one of six teams in the A-10 with 20 wins, while tied with George Washington for fourth place in the league standings (9-5).
Duquesne is not one of the teams fortunate enough to have reached the 20-win plateau, as it sits at just 12-15 overall. However, the Dukes earned their biggest win of the season last time out, knocking off Saint Louis on the road, 71-64. The win was just the fourth in 14 tries in conference play for Duquesne, which ends the season on the road against George Mason.
This is the only scheduled meeting this season between these two teams. UMass earned a 79-66 victory in the lone matchup a year ago, and leads the all-time series, 36-25.
Trey Davis scored 19 points off the bench and Chaz Williams had 17 points and five assists against Dayton for the Minutemen, but the efforts came in a loss. The Minutemen allowed the Flyers to sink an even 50 percent of their total shots, while being outscored, 27-12, from 3-point range.
UMass still matched its impressive offensive pace in the setback, tallying 79 points on 47.3 percent shooting. The Minutemen have been the most prolific offensive team in the A-10 this season, leading the way in scoring (76.9 ppg) and assists (15.6 apg) and shooting the second-best percentage from the field (.467). They are also at the top of the league in rebounds (38.9 rpg). Williams (15.6 ppg, 7.1 apg) is the catalyst for the team, serving as the go- to scorer, but also finding time to spread the ball around as the A-10's leader in assists. Cady Lalanne (12.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.4 bpg) provides sturdy play inside, and Sampson Carter (10.8 ppg) is another solid scoring threat.
Micah Mason was stellar, scoring 22 points on 6-of-8 shooting, to lift Duquesne to its first road win against a top-10 team since 1962 against Saint Louis. The Dukes forced 16 turnovers and limited the Billikens to 40.4 percent shooting, while sinking 8-of-15 shots from beyond the arc.
Duquesne follows the Minutemen's dedication to spreading the wealth, ranking second in the A-10 in assists (14.9 apg). However, the Dukes have not had as much success putting points on the board, scoring 73.4 ppg on 43.9 percent shooting. Ovie Soko (18.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Dominique McKoy (9.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg) patrol the interior, with Soko the most productive producer on the team in both scoring and rebounding. Soko had 12 points on just 3-of-11 shooting to go with three rebounds against Saint Louis. Mason (10.6 ppg) is shooting an astounding 56.6 percent from beyond the arc and has scored in double figures in five of the last seven games.
Although the Minutemen have been a mediocre team on the road this season (6-4), they are still too talented, especially at the offensive end of the floor, for Duquesne to expect a victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Massachusetts 78, Duquesne 71
03/05 10:34:07 ET