UMass (14-4, 3-1 Atlantic 10) will look to keep their momentum going on the road, when they play Duquesne University (11-7, 2-2 A10) at the A.J. Palumbo Center Wednesday night at 7 p.m. EDT. (TV: None/Radio:1510 AM WWZN)
Atlantic 10 foes UMass and Duquesne will face off the 59th time all-time, with UMass holding a 34-24 lead. Despite the Minutemen's sucess in the past, the Dukes have won three of the past four matchups, including last season's 81-63 victory at the Mullins Center. Five Dukes finished in double-figures and the team knocked down 12 3-pointers in the win, as Duquesne used runs of 22-2 and 14-1 to knock off UMass at home.
The Minutemen knotched their 10th straight win at home to open the season Saturday when they knocked off St. Joseph's 71-62. After the Hawks jumped out to a 20-3 lead in the first seven minutes, the Minutemen made a furious comeback to grab a 33-32 lead at the half. Sophomore point guard Chaz Williams led UMass with 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds, including a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line.
Duquesne evened up their conference record at 2-2 Saturday when they downed Rhode Island University 78-71 at the Ryan Center in Kingston. Reigning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year T.J. McConnell led the Dukes with 16 points, eight assists and eight rebounds in the win.
Williams is the catalyst for a UMass team that leads the Atlantic 10 in scoring at 77.3 points per game. The transfer tops all Minutemen players in scoring (16.2ppg) and assists (5.9apg) and also adds 2.3 steals per game. Redshirt sophomore forward Raphiael Putney is the team's second leading scorer at 10.4ppg and adds 5.1rbg, after averaging just 4.4ppg and three rebounds per game last season. Senior center Sean Carter leads the team in rebounding with 6.4rbg, to go along with 6.8ppg in 23 minutes of action. The Minutemen are seventh in the nation in rebounding at at 40.9 rebounds per game and their 15.8 assists per game are good for 31st in the nation.
Junior guard Sean Johnson has stepped into the starting lineup, after serving as the team's sixth man the past two years, and made an instant impact. In just 26 minutes per game, Johnson leads the Dukes with 16 points per game. Senior wing B.J. Monteiro (6'5") is second on the team in scoring (15ppg) and averages a team-high 5.8 rebounds, for a Dukes team that struggles mightily on the boards. Duquesne is 307th in the nation in rebounding at 31.4 boards per game and opponents have been grabbing seven more rebounds per game then the Dukes. McConnell may be the most dangerous player on the team, as he's third in scoring (11.8ppg), third in rebounding (4.4rbg) and leads the teams in assists (6.2apg). He leads a Duquesne offense that is almost as potent as the Minutemen's; the Dukes average 76.2 points and connect on 47 percent of their shots.
Prediction: UMass has struggled on the road this season with a 2-2 record and a poor showing against LaSalle two weeks ago. On the other hand, the Dukes weaknesses play to UMass' advantage, as the Minutemen will likely dominate the paint and feed the ball to Carter, Puntey and Terrell Vinson all night long. If the Minutemen can avoid another rough start (and they've had a couple recently), then they should be able to earn their first road win of the Atlantic 10 season.
UMass 82, Duquesne 74