Chaz Williams and UMass (14-5, 3-2 Atlantic 10) will look to end their road woes when they take on the Richmond Spiders (11-8, 2-2 A10) Saturday at 5 p.m. EDT at the Robins Center. (TV: CBS Sports Network/Radio: 1510 AM WWZN).
Richmond has dominated the series between the two teams, winning eight of 12 games and the last three in a row. Last season, the Spiders came to Amherst and earned an 84-68 victory by shooting 63 percent in the second half. Former UMass star Anthony Gurley had 30 points for the Minutemen and junior forward added 16 points, six rebounds and four assists.
The road hasn't been kind to UMass in Atlantic 10 play, as the Minutemen dropped their second straight road contest Wednesday at Duquesne. In the 80-69 loss, UMass turned the ball over a season-high 29 times and hit just five threes, as they dropped their third road contest in five games this season. Senior center Sean Carter led the team with 12 points and 14 rebounds but it wasn't enough to overcome Chaz William's worst game in a UMass uniform.
It's been much of the same for the Spiders on the road this season, as they fell 83-65 Wednesday at George Washington. Richmond played without starting point guard Cedrick Lindsay for the first time all season in the contest. Junior guard Darien Brothers led the team with 17 points but also committed five of the team's 13 turnovers.
UMass has been a different team on the road all season long; they've turned the ball over 19.8 times per game and shot just 20 percent from beyond the arc, two aspects of the Minutemen's game that are usually strengths.Williams has struggled mightily away from home, the transfer point guard managed a season-low eight points and tallied seven turnovers in Wednesday's loss. On the season he leads the team in scoring (15.8ppg) and assists (5.8apg). He's gotten plenty of help from Carter and junior forward Terrell Vinson who's averaging 9.1ppg and 5.8rbg. The Minutemen lead the Atlantic 10 in scoring (76.8 points per game) and rebounding (41.3).
Richmond is in the middle of the Atlantic 10 in almost every statistical category except for 3-point shooting, where they lead the conference 8.3 makes per game, just ahead of UMass (8.2). Brothers has been a key part of that success, he's connected on 47 percent of his attempts and hit a team-high 50 3-pointers on the season. The Richmond native leads four Spiders who average double figures with 14.9ppg and on 45 percent shooting. Lindsay who's status is uncertain for today's game averages 12.6ppg and 3.9apg. Senior forward Darrius Garrett leads the team in rebounding with 6.5rbg, he'll have his work cut out for him Saturday. Richmond is dead last in the Atlantic 10 in rebounding margin (-5.5), while the Minutemen lead the conference at 3.4 more rebounds per game.
Prediction: In UMass' first nationally televised game since Thanksgiving, the Minutemen will have a chance to overcome two demons (Richmond and their road woes) at once against Richmond. It's a matchup that should heavily favor UMass if they play to their strengths but smaller teams like the Spiders have been able to dictate the style of play against the Minutemen on the road all year. Look for Williams to dictate the play and have a breakout road game as UMass earns its first road win of the Atlantic 10 season.
UMass 82, Richmond 76