Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The 21st-ranked Massachusetts Minutemen will try to halt their two-game road losing streak on Saturday night when they take on the Saint Joseph's Hawks in Atlantic 10 Conference action at Hagan Arena.
UMass has dropped two of three, most recently falling at St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night by a convincing 78-65 margin. The Minutemen have nonetheless been outstanding this season at 17-3 overall and 4-2 in the A-10.
Saint Joseph's is tied with UMass in the conference standings at 4-2 after its dramatic Wednesday night triumph at Richmond, 60-57, its fifth win in the last six games to improve to 14-6 overall. The Hawks have also enjoyed the confines of Hagan Arena, going 7-2.
The Minutemen outlasted the Hawks in Amherst on Jan. 8, 66-62, and now lead the all-time series, 34-29.
The Minutemen were locked up in a tight battle with St. Bonaventure earlier in the week and trailed by just one with under eight minutes to play before the Bonnies pulled away with a 9-0 run. They shot a modest 42.4 percent from the field in the losing effort, were hindered by a game-high 17 turnovers and were outscored at the free-throw line, 30-8. Trey Davis came off the bench to shoot 4-of-7 from 3-point range for 18 points, Cady Lalanne and Chaz Williams both poured in 11 points and Raphiael Putney and Sampson Carter netted 10 points apiece.
Despite UMass' relative struggles in recent weeks, it has still played very well on both ends of the floor this season, outshooting its opponents from the field, 47 percent to 41 percent, while boasting impressive margins in terms of scoring (+8.3) and rebounding (+3.6). Williams shoots just 40.7 percent from the field but he still pours in a team-best 15.7 ppg, while ranking fourth in the nation in assists, handing out 7.3 per contest. Lalanne brings 13.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg and 2.5 bpg to the table, all while shooting 57.9 percent from the floor. Carter (10.8 ppg) and Putney (10.7 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers.
The Hawks squandered a 15-point second-half lead in their most recent contest and allowed Dayton to tie the game with 11 seconds left, but they avoided an epic collapse when Langston Galloway drained the game-winning 3-pointer in the waning seconds. They shot 46.7 percent from the field on the evening and were led by Chris Wilson and his 15 points. Ronald Roberts and Galloway both scored 12 points, DeAndre Hall finished with 11 points and Halil Kanacevic also pitched in to the balanced effort with eight points and 11 rebounds.
While not as well-rounded as UMass, Saint Joseph's has nonetheless played well on both ends of the floor this season, shooting 47.2 percent from the field en route to 72.2 ppg while allowing 68.7 ppg on 43.2 percent shooting. It also owns a +5.2 rebounding margin, but it's not without weaknesses, as it shoots only 62.9 percent from the free-throw line and commits 2.6 more turnovers per game than it forces. Galloway (17.2 ppg) has been deadly from beyond the arc, draining 64 3-pointers at a 46-percent conversion rate. Roberts (13.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.1 bpg) and Kanacevic (10.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.3 bpg) are mainstays in the frontcourt, while Bembry (11.1 ppg) and Wilson (9.9 ppg) round out the impressive starting five.