Updated: Jan 28, 2021
By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
Another winnable game for UMass slips away in the second half, as Davidson gets a road win in Amherst 69-60.
Kellan Grady had a game-high 22 points. He played 38 minutes and also contributed 6 rebounds and 5 assists to the Davidson win.
Tre Mitchell led UMass with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He shot 18 FGA. Noah Fernandes had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Mitchell played 34 minutes; Fernandes played 35 minutes.
UMass starting Center had more assists than the starting Point Guard 🤔.
People (or bots) on Twitter are overthinking any UMass dilemma. UMass has the best chance of winning when the offense runs through Tre Mitchell. T. Mitchell is the key🔑.
There are 3 reasons why UMass lost to Davidson:
Tre Mitchell isn’t healthy. Even before this game he seems to have been bravely playing through some type of left knee/leg ailment. He also injured his shoulder today 😔.
An erosion of roster depth: UMass is missing Preston Santos (“personal reason”); Kolton Mitchell (concussion); Dyrondre Dominguez and Cairo McCrory (held out by UMass Athletic Department)
Fernandes and Javohn Garcia are not good on-ball, individual perimeter defenders at this point in their career.
The health of Tre Mitchell will play out itself 🤞🏽. Even being less than 100% he almost powered UMass to a win. He needs to be healthy and I think he might miss the next game or two [⬅️speculation].
The UMass Athletics Deparment hasn’t given much information on Santos, Dominguez or McCrory. In regards to Santos, “personal reasons” could be anything really. I won’t speculate and I hope he comes back sometime this season. Kolton Mitchell hasn’t gotten much playing time this year. If he was healthy he probably would have gotten more minutes but who knows? Being a major part of the stability of the program last year has gotten K. Mitchell almost nothing this year.
I will be publishing another article about what I believe is going on with Dominguez and McCrory.
Any Guard in the Atlantic 10 can get by Fernandes and Garcia. Fernandes and Garcia are not, as of now, good individual perimeter defenders. They play very well in the scheme of team defense (help defense and press formations). That is the second reason why UMass can't play those two together.
The first reason: they are both "shoot-first" Guards.
It seems that when their shots aren’t going in or they aren’t getting looks, they [more so Garcia] become non-existent. Davidson Guards got past them all day, which is why Pierre, Walker and Weeks were in most of the game. They combined for 3 assists against Davidson; Tre Mitchell had 4.
A Twitter user popular on "UMass Twitter" tweeted about a particular play where Kellan Grady hit a 3 right in Garcia's face. He tweeted that Garcia had played good defense and Grady had hit a tough shot. Garcia should have played better off-ball defense and denied Grady the opportunity. Another option, be a half-step closer so Grady can't get that shot off.
UMass can’t play Fernandes and Garcia together when UMass plays teams with bigger Guards and agile wing players; they are too small, relative to basketball heights at this level. One of my earlier articles suggested that Garcia go to the bench and TJ Weeks start 🤔💡.
Until the roster gets sured up again, UMass could have some tough games ahead of them. Hopefully both Mitchells can play Wednesday @ VCU. Road games have been notoriously tough for UMass.
Previews for UMass games @ twitter.com/k2fpsports >. Usually up half-hour or so before the game starts.