by Kevin McCaskill Jr.
12/4/23 * 4:42 PM
(AMHERST, MA) - The Minutemen hosted the South Florida Bulls last Saturday afternoon, at the The Mullins Center. UMass won their last home game against Central Connecticut St., last month. South Florida had lost consecutive games to Maine and Hofstra.
As you can tell by the final score, offensive success was hard to come by in the early afternoon matchup. Halfway through the 1st half, the game was tied @ 11. The Bulls got some transition opportunities but their half-court offense was stagnant.
The referees played a part in the lack of rhythm in the game. They called 55 fouls in Saturday’s contest. Some “nickel & dimers”; some were good calls.
The call they, and many other referees at all levels, consistently got wrong was the block/charge call.
The block/charge foul should be eliminated at every level of basketball. Referees don’t call it “fairly” or consistently.
UMass started to separate from South Florida and led at halftime 30-23.
In the second half, points were at a premium. Neither team was executing very well in their half-court offense. Both teams were playing good defensively but the Minutemen turned their defense into offense more than the Bulls.
The Minutemen survived the Saturday slugfest 66-56.
Josh Cohen scored a game-high 21 points. Keon Thompson scored 12 points. Matt Cross got in foul trouble early; he scored 8 points.
Selton Miguel led South Florida with 16 points off the bench.
After the game, Cohen & Thompson spoke with the media, followed by HC Frank Martin.
Cohen said, “We like messy games, that helps us”.
Thompson said, “I can be quiet off the court but on the court, I’ll try to be one of the loudest people on the floor, just [so they know] I got everyone’s back”.
Thompson also stated later on that he stayed at UMass because he cares about “loyalty”. “Frank helped me a lot, in terms of growing as a person [and] as a player…He just wants the best out of all of us”.
HC Martin told the media, “I don’t coach fantasy sports; I coach to win games.
Guys that play fantasy sports, they draft people, they pick people on their teams that score a lot of points and people think that's the way winning games works. No, that’s fantasy sports. I coach to win games. I play guys that do things a certain way, that have a demeanor, an approach, that are good teammates…”.
The Minutemen have their 1st road game of the season on Wednesday. They travel south to Maryland, to play Towson @ 7 PM.