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UMass Wins Comfortably at Home Over VCU 74-52

by Kevin McCaskill Jr.

2/21/24 * 8:10 PM

(AMHERST, MA) - The Minutemen were back at The Mullins Center to host VCU after a one-point loss @ La Salle last Saturday.

With two weeks left in the A10 regular season, both teams need to stack wins to get the best possible seed in the A10 Conference Championship Tournament.

The Minutemen scored the first 7 points of the game before VCU Forward Kuany Kuany made two FTs for the Rams.

The Rams missed 14 consecutive FGs over  12 minute span in the 1st. Their first FG was a 3 made by Guard Max Shulga.

The Rams ineffectiveness was also due to the Minutemen’s defense. The Minutemen’s zone and man-to-man defense stifled the Rams the majority of the contest. After the game, VCU HC Ryan Odom said, “More than anything, their defense was bothersome to us”.

The Rams offense picked up but they could never keep pace with the Minutemen.

UMass won easily 74-52.

Josh Cohen led all scorers with 20 points. He also had 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

Matt Cross registered his 5th double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Rahsool Diggins scored 10 points and had 4 assists.

Guard Joe Bamisile led VCU with 13 points. Shulga scored 10 points.

After the game, Cross, Cohen, VCU HC Odom and UMass HC Frank Martin spoke with the media.

Cohen: “That’s one thing we’ve been emphasizing, when we got a lead, take good shots. Use some clock…Its not high school basketball; its college basketball. Even though you have a 10-point lead with 5 minutes to go, no lead is safe. I think that’s one thing we’re learning, learning to take care of the ball and get good shots…”.

Cross: “[VCU is] a big team…they’re not tricky with what they do, so it’s just about being disciplined”.

Odom: “[UMass] got off to a great start. They got the ball inside…All and all, it was just a really poor start for us”; “[UMass’] got wide players, they’ve got physical guys. It’s my first time seeing them in-person. They’ve got stronger guys…at each position”; “Overall, quite honestly, we played below our level”.

Martin: “It’s a fun group; they care”; “I’m always concerned with today”; “We lead the A10 in scoring…we got some good players here”; “Basketball is a game of runs”.

The Minutemen improve to 17-9 overall and 8-6 in the A10. That conference record currently has them in the 5th seed for the A10 Conference Championship. The top 4 seeds get a double bye in the tournament. If the Minutemen continue to win games they are definitely in play for the 4th, possibly 3rd, seed in the tournament.

UMass hosts St. Bonaventure this Saturday at 2:30 PM. The Minutemen lost in Olean earlier this month. Saturday is a “must win” game.

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