Donte Clark develops as UMass improves (Photo courtesy of UMass Athletics)

The 2014 calendar year was one of ups (a thrilling ride to the NCAA Tournament) and downs (a mediocre start to the 2014–15 season) for the UMass Minutemen basketball team. However, a new year means new year’s resolutions, and while most of you are probably saying things like “I’m going to eat healthier!”or “I’m going to the gym more!”, the Minutemen seem to have made a resolution to play better and try to right the ship. Let’s throw out the loss to St. Bonaventure and concentrate on everything else that has happened since the season’s low point.

On December 20, UMass hit the road to finish off the New England portion of its non-conference schedule against the Providence Friars, a team they defeated in a thriller at the Mullins Center a season ago. Without going into too much detail, UMass was anything but thrilling as Ladontae Henton and the rest of the Friars embarrassed UMass in an 85–65 beatdown. Since then, the Minutemen have played very, going 2–2. Continue reading New Year’s Resolution in Full Swing for Minutemen »

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Wesley Saunders (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)


Record: 8–3 (2nd in Ivy League)

The Crimson got off to a good start in December, extending its win streak to six games with double-digit wins over Northeastern, Vermont and Boston University. The wheels came off, however, when Harvard visited #6 Virginia on December 21, a 76–27 dismantling that could not have been much uglier. Ten days later, the Crimson lost by 10 at Arizona State, but rebounded for a 13-point win over Grand Canyon to close out 2014. As the calendar turns, Harvard is once again in a tight battle with Yale for Ivy League supremacy. The Bulldogs currently have a half-game advantage but the Crimson has three games in hand.

Harvard ranks 32nd nationally in points allowed and 10th in blocks, but could be suffering from a lack of offensive options. The entire gameplan runs through shooting guard Wesley Saunders, who is averaging a team-high 17.7 points (9.1 more than any teammate) and 2.3 steals, and is second on the team in rebounds (6.1) and assists (4.1) per game. He has also been shooting the lights out at 52 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from beyond the arc. Continue reading College Basketball December Roundup: Gearing Up for Conference Play »

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Christian Hackenberg (Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports)

Boston College, 30; Penn State, 31 (OT)

The Pinstripe Bowl matchup between Boston College and Penn State at Yankee Stadium could not have been much closer. It started as a defensive battle, with just two big plays preventing a scoreless first half. The offenses came alive in the second half, but neither team could pull away. In overtime, the game was decided by one of the recurring themes of the Eagles’ 2014 season: the laughably poor play of their kickers.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg got the Nittany Lions on the board with a 72-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Godwin. Two plays later, running back Jon Hilliman tied it up at 7–7 with a 49-yard TD rush. Continue reading Missed Extra Point Brings Boston College Season to a Fitting Close »

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If you’re a UMass fan and you haven’t hit the panic button, you’re a bit late to the game. The Minutemen are playing their worst basketball in some time and the loss at Providence on Saturday was the low point. Since blowing out Northeastern back on November 26, they have lost four of their last five with two blowouts to LSU and the aforementioned Providence Friars, two teams they defeated a season ago. One lone victory over Canisius salvaged what could have been a five-game losing streak, and even that one wasn’t pretty at times despite the final score. What’s going wrong?

The Road Less Traveled

All of the Minutemen’s losses have come away from the cozy confines of the Mullins Center. They did manage to beat Boston College and Florida State away from Amherst, but those games were both at neutral-site locations. They have now lost to Harvard, LSU and Providence on the road, plus neutral-site losses to Notre Dame and Florida Gulf Coast. It looks like the Minutemen just need some home cooking in order to get wins, but they won’t be having that anytime soon with their next game coming up at BYU on December 23. Continue reading Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling »

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Tyler Murphy (John Wilcox/Boston Herald)

The Boston College Eagles won’t have to travel far for their postseason game this year, as they have been drawn into the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. The Eagles will take on Penn State on December 27 in the first postseason meeting ever between the two teams. BC will be looking for its first bowl win since 2007, having lost four straight since then.

The Eagles are in the postseason for the second consecutive year after a two-year absence with a 7-5 record, despite losing their two key offensive players, quarterback Chase Rettig and running back Andre Williams. Rettig’s successor, Florida transfer Tyler Murphy, led the team with his running ability, racking up an ACC-record 1,079 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground with an outstanding average of 6.3 yards per carry. He was much shakier as a passer, completing just 56.9 percent of his passes for 1,526 yards, 11 scores and 10 interceptions. Continue reading Boston College to Take On Penn State in Pinstripe Bowl »

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Wes Saunders and the Harvard Crimson got the better of Derrick Gordon and UMass. Photo courtesy of

There wasn’t an actual title on the line this past week as UMass finished its in-state schedule, but Harvard took care of business on its home court to stop the Minutemen from crowning themselves the kings of college basketball in Massachusetts. After victories over Boston College and Northeastern, UMass looked to finish off the Crimson on its first true road trip (even though Lavietes Pavilion was probably packed with 70 percent Minutemen fans) and add another win against an NCAA Tournament team to its resume.

The Northeastern Huskies were supposed to come into Amherst on Wednesday night, but with snow coming in, the game was moved forward into the afternoon to make sure everyone could get home safely and enjoy the Thanksgiving eve celebrations. Apparently, these Huskies aren’t the kind that love the snow. There was not much to celebrate for Northeastern fans as the Minutemen put together their first wire-to-wire blowout of the season in a 79-54 win highlighted by yet another impressive Maxie Esho dunk. Donte Clark also continued to be the most impressive freshman for the Minuteman scoring 10 points and reaching double figures for the third straight game. Continue reading Harvard Claims Bay State ‘Title’ Over UMass »

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Scott Eatherton (AP Photo/Anthony Nesmith)


Record: 5-1 (2nd in Colonial Athletic Association)

After posting an 11-21 record in a disappointing 2013-14 season, Northeastern has won five of its first six games this year, starting with a 71-65 defeat of Boston University at TD Garden. The Huskies posted double-digit wins over Navy and Manhattan at the Hall of Fame Tip Off. Their only loss was a 25-point beatdown at UMass, but they rebounded with a 57-48 victory over Fairfield. The Huskies are half a game behind Towson in the CAA standings.

Power forward Scott Eatherton leads Northeastern with 15.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1 steal per game and shooting guard David Walker is adding 13.3 points, 3.3 dimes and 1.3 boards. As a result of the fast start, the Huskies received one vote in the latest AP Top 25 poll. Continue reading College Basketball November Roundup: Strong Starts for Five Mass. Teams »

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