Amherst, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - The 19th-ranked Massachusetts Minutemen will put the wraps on a season-long, four-game homestand when they play host to the St. Bonaventure Bonnies in an Atlantic 10 Conference clash on Saturday afternoon.
St. Bonaventure has enjoyed a solid start to the campaign, logging an 11-4 overall record, which includes a 1-0 mark in A-10 play. The Bonnies defeated visiting Richmond in their conference opener on Wednesday night, 84-70, to up their record in front of the hometown faithful to a perfect 7-0. They are however, a game below .500 on the road (2-3), although both victories have come in their last three such contests.
Massachusetts is a stellar 13-1 on the season, and the team is coming off a 66-62 win over visiting Saint Joseph's on Wednesday night, marking its first A-10 triumph. The Minutemen are also 7-0 at home, and they are an impressive 24-5 at the Mullins Center over the past three seasons, and that includes a 13-4 mark against conference foes.
UMass leads the all-time series with SBU, 39-21, but the Bonnies have won the last two meetings and four of the last six overall.
St. Bonaventure has done a solid job putting points on the board this season, netting 76.5 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of .465 overall and .324 from 3-point range, while at the same time holding the opposition to 67.8 ppg and coming up with positive margins in both rebounding (+6.0) and turnovers (+2.5). The team boasts three double-digit scorers in Matthew Wright (16.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.4 apg), Charlon Kloof (12.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.5 apg) and Andell Cumberbatch (11.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg), and four others are close to joining the ranks as they net between 8.6 and 9.2 ppg.
Wright drained four 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 20 points in the recent win over Richmond, while Youssou Ndoye logged a double-double consisting of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Cumberbatch added 12 points and six boards, and Jordan Gathers came off the bench to finish with a line of 11 points, six assists and five caroms for the Bonnies, who shot 48.1 percent from the floor, and went 27-of-39 at the free-throw line.
The Minutemen have posted similar scoring averages to that of their counterpart today, as they generate 78.7 ppg while permitting 69.6 ppg, and they have four double-digit scorers as well, led by Chaz Williams with 15.9 ppg. Williams is far from a one-trick pony however, as he also gets his teammates involved in the action by handing out 7.4 apg (tied for second-best in the country). Cady Lalanne (13.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.6 bpg) is a force on the inside, while Sampson Carter (11.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and Raphiael Putney (10.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg) have produced for coach Derek Kellogg's club as well, and both Derrick Gordon and Maxie Esho are netting at least 9.0 ppg.
Williams scored 22 points and handed out four assists in the recent win over Saint Joseph's, helping the team knock down 43.6 percent of its total shots while goading the Hawks into 17 turnovers. Esho tacked on 12 points and Putney had 11 for UMass, which outscored SJU in the paint (38-22), off turnovers (21-16) and in bench points (18-0).