Thursday, April 24, 2014

Breaking down UMass, BYU basketball's next opponent (8 items)

By , Deseret News

Dec. 4, 2013

The Cougars hit the road on Saturday to face their third ranked opponent of the young 2013-14 season as they face No. 21 UMass at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.

UMass earned its first AP Top 25 ranking since the 1998-99 season after upsetting No. 19 New Mexico and beating Clemson to win the Charleston Classic. Clearly, this team deserves BYU’s full attention.

From Chaz Williams to Cady Lalanne, here’s everything you need to know about the Minutemen.

Lafe Peavler is a sportswriter intern at the Deseret News. Follow him on Twitter @MasterPeavler

1 of 8. Chaz Williams, G, 5-foot-9, 175 pounds

Williams directs the UMass offense with 15.4 points and 6.4 assists per game. He can be dangerous from behind the arc as he went 5-for-5 against Boston College and 3-of-6 against New Mexico.

However, Williams isn’t consistently hot from the field. For example, he went 1-for-12 against Clemson and finished with just four points. He’s a lot like BYU’s Matt Carlino in that both players can explode for a lot of points or have a quiet day. That makes this matchup all the more fascinating.

2 of 8. Derrick Gordon, G, 6-3, 200

Gordon isn’t much of a threat from deep as he has just one three-point attempt on the season. Rather, Gordon excels at driving to the hoop.

The sophomore averages 11.0 points per game, rounding out a starting five that all average double-digit points. He led the way for the Minutemen against Nebraska with 20 points in their 96-90 win.

3 of 8. Raphiael Putney, F, 6-9, 185

Putney has a knack for stepping up in big games. His season high of 18 points came against then-No. 19 New Mexico. He contributed nine points during UMass’ critical 16-0 run in the second half against the Lobos.

Talk about good timing.

Putney’s numbers are solid with 12.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. The Cougars will need to keep a close eye on this clutch player.

4 of 8. Sampson Carter, F, 6-8, 220

Carter is a dangerous combination of a big man that can shoot threes. At 6-8 and 220, he’s shooting 42.1 percent from behind the arc.

Carter also averages 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game. While he’s not UMass’ most explosive player, he’s more than capable of hitting a big three.

5 of 8. Cady Lalanne, C, 6-10, 253

Lalanne is literally BYU’s biggest threat at 6-10, 253. While Eric Mika is about the same height, Lalanne has a 20-pound advantage on the freshman. Lalanne’s size and 2.7 blocks per game will also challenge BYU’s guards who love to drive to the basket.

Lalanne is also the Minutemen’s leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 17.0 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. BYU’s big men will have their hands full managing Lalanne, no doubt about it.
1. flatlander
Omaha, NE,
Dec. 4, 2013

If they only beat Nebraska by 6 UMass should not be too tough for the Y.

2. Kralon
Dec. 4, 2013

It would have been nice to have some info on how UMass plays as they supposedly play as fast or faster than BYU. Should be a fun game to watch, go Cougars!

3. Louisiana Cougar
Pineville, LA,
Dec. 5, 2013

Tough game against a very solid opponent with an excellent coach.

BYU will need to hit their free throws, defend inside and the three-point line, and stay out of foul trouble to have any kind of a chance.

Tyler Haws needs to have a good game. Carlino and Bartley need to avoid throwing up shots from the perimeter too early in the shot clock.

Looking forward to seeing Mika play against a very good center.

4. RockOn
Spanish Fork, UT,
Dec. 5, 2013

Love the fact they're playing a significant schedule. However, a win...? That will be very tough if the keys are 1) free throws, 2) the bigs staying out of foul trouble, 3) 3 pt shooting. And 4) defense. Can't say the Cougs have even approached "acceptable" levels in the consistency of any of these challenges.

I suspect we'll find Cougar advantages in steals, drives to the basket, fast breaks and mid-range jumpers.

It's going to be tough and should BYU win, it will be a significant win.

Glad to have these test games.

5. DEW Cougars
Sandy, UT,
Dec. 5, 2013

@Kralon - I only saw few minutes of this Clemson game online. I can't judge how fast they play but I kept hearing from comentary saying Clemson can't figured out how this UMass Defense play. And there are three other games you can view online with espn.