Allie Rooney '16 Sports Editor
Although University of Massachusetts Amherst is the only Division I school in Western Massachusetts and finished on top of its conference, the Atlantic 10, last basketball season, it came as a surprise to many when the team made the NCAA March Madness Tournament and ranked sixth in its region. Some called it a Cinderella story and others called it luck. However, the members of the men’s basketball team, along with their coaching staff, spear-headed by locally grown Derek Kellogg, knew it was a turning point for their program.
Unfortunately the team’s run in the tournament was short-lived as it was eliminated in the first round by Tennessee. However, the team came into this season with a similar goal in mind: to return to the March Madness Tournament and to show people that they belong.
That is exactly what they have accomplished so far this season. With their 82-74 win against Duquesne at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Feb. 14, the team recorded their sixth consecutive victory, the first time that this happened since 2008 and just the third time they’ve accomplished this in the past 14 seasons. This win propelled them to a tie for first place in the A-10 Conference and more importantly, talk of a shot at qualifying for the March Madness Tournament.
Junior guard Trey Davis scored 26 points in the victory, including a season-record of nine-three pointers. Seniors Maxie Esho and Cady Lalanne had 13 points and 11 points, respectively. Junior point guard Jabarie Hinds also added 11 points to the Minutemen victory.
To go perfectly with the Valentine’s Day holiday, fans at the game on Saturday witnessed a proposal during one of the media timeouts in the first half. It was after this timeout that the Minutemen were able to take their first lead of the game.
UMass shot 42.9 percent from the floor and 25 out of 39 from the foul line, as compared to 17 out of 21 for Duquesne.
The Minutemen return to action on to Virginia Commonwealth University on Feb. 21. Both URI and VCU tied with UMass for first place in the A-10, so these games will end up being pivotal in where they end up in the conference standings as well as national ranking.