Massachusetts (10-4) at Fordham (5-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 13, 1 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rose Hill Gym (3,470) -- Bronx, New York. Television: YES. Home Record: UMass 4-1, Fordham 3-1. Away Record: UMass 4-1, Fordham 0-8. Neutral Record: UMass 2-2, Fordham 2-2. Conference Record: UMass 0-1, Fordham 1-0. Series Record: UMass leads, 25-12.
GAMES NOTES: Coming off their first loss since the beginning of December, the Massachusetts Minutemen will travel to Rose Hill Gym to battle the Fordham Rams in Atlantic 10 action Sunday afternoon.
A 70-62 loss to Saint Louis on Thursday ended a seven-game winning streak for UMass, which is now 10-4 this season. The loss was in the A-10 opener for the Minutemen and was also the first time this season UMass has fallen in a true road contest. The Minutemen kick off a three-game homestand next against Duquesne.
Fordham has traded wins and losses in its last seven games with the most recent decision an 82-75 triumph over Duquesne in its A-10 debut. Even with the win Fordham is still just 5-11 on the campaign, although the Rams have won three of their four matchups at Rose Hill Gym. Fordham will play its next two games on the road beginning against Charlotte on Wednesday.
In last year's only meeting, UMass earned an 80-76 victory at the Mullins Center. The win was the third in the last four meetings for the Minutemen who have a 25-12 edge in the all-time series.
UMass led Saint Louis, 54-50, with a little more than nine minutes remaining, but the Billikens then went on a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to pull away. The Minutemen really struggled down the stretch with just a pair of field goals in the last nine minutes.
Erratic shooting has plagued UMass at times this season due to its reliance on the 3-point shot. The Minutemen have shot just 31.0 percent from beyond the arc this season, despite attempting the fourth-most shots from distance in the A-10. That has lowered the Minutemen's overall shooting percentage to 40.9 percent, which is the third worst mark in the conference. The Minutemen still score a healthy 72.1 points per game but that is exactly in line with how much they give up on the other end. The shooting woes might get even worse in this game with second-leading scorer Jesse Morgan (13.4 ppg) sidelined with a sprained right knee. That puts even more pressure on do-it-all guard Chaz Williams, who leads the A-10 in assists (7.3 pg), while leading the Minutemen in scoring (15.4 ppg). Terrell Vinson (11.4 ppg) will also need to step up his game in Morgan's absence.
Fordham played one of its better games of the season against Duquesne in the conference opener. The Rams shot a strong 53.1 percent from the field overall and had a 49-34 edge on the boards in the victory. The hot shooting helped the Rams overcome 16 turnovers which was 11 more than the Rams forced.
Fordham cannot boast the same type of offensive success that UMass has had. The Rams score just 65.9 points per game, while ranking near the bottom of the A-10 in assists (13.5 pg, 10th). Also hurting the cause is a lackluster defensive production as they let up 75.1 points per game on 44.4 percent shooting. The duo of Branden Frazier (15.8 ppg, 5.6 apg) and Chris Gatson (14.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg) has been the driving force for Fordham. Frazier is the second-best distributor in the conference but has struggled to hit shots consistently by making only 37.5 percent from the floor. Gatson shoots better than 50 percent and is also blocking 1.5 shots per game.
Even when they've played on the road, the Minutemen have not really been slowed down. Fordham will struggle to do so even with Morgan out.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Massachusetts 73, Fordham 64
01/13 10:31:59 ET