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Minutemen head to Philadelphia for a Saturday game at Saint Joseph's

UMass VCU Basketball

Virginia Commonwealth forward Jalen DeLoach (4) drives to the basket as Massachusetts forward Wildens Leveque (0) defends during an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Richmond, Va. Leveque and the Minutemen are back on the road for Saturday's game at Atlantic 10 rival Saint Joseph's.

University of Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Frank Martin is, in his words, a one game at a time guy. He’s a coach who doesn’t like to look too far ahead.

That’s why Martin didn’t mince words on Thursday, when he was asked about the importance of Saturday’s Atlantic 10 Conference game at Saint Joseph’s.

“It’s huge,” said Martin, whose Minutemen are looking to win their first A-10 road game of the season. Tip off is set for 1 p.m., and the game will be streamed on ESPN-Plus.

The Minutemen, 11-7 overall, are 2-4 in the A-10, having beaten Saint Louis and Rhode Island in the Mullins Center. They lost at St. Bonaventure and George Washington.

UMass will play a Hawks team that is 8-10 but has won two straight in conference after losing their first four. Saint Joe’s beat Loyola-Chicago and Philadelphia rival La Salle.

“I feel like this will be a very good chance to see what we can do on the road,” UMass’ Dyondre Dominguez said, in a Thursday afternoon video conference with reporters. “We haven’t won one on the road yet and that’s what we’re looking for. We have young guys who just have to get used to handling the environment in different situations, like going on a run, not feeding into the crowd and just sticking to what we do as a team.”

In his video interview, Martin made it clear that the Minutemen have been preparing well for games, but with mixed results. He said it was different as the team headed into conference play.

“We allowed the ball not going in the basket to hurt our feelings and VCU punished us,” Martin said, referring to the 83-55 loss Tuesday night in Richmond, Va.

Martin said that he hadn’t been happy with game-day preparation, so when the Minutemen head off to Philadelphia, the UMass coach said that he and the staff have shifted around the team’s pregame schedule.

“We’re making an adjustment on how we’re practicing and traveling [Friday],” he said. “Why? Because the way we’ve done it for the first two league road games, I haven’t gotten the response I want to from our team on game day. So, we’re going to make a small adjustment in what we do.

“Instead of practicing [in Amherst], we’re going to travel in the morning, and then practice once we get there.”

Martin said he isn’t sure if that’s going to change things, but the coach quickly added what they had been doing wasn’t working well either.

What the Hawks are doing under coach Billy Lange, is now starting to take root.

Saint Joe’s uses three guards to do most of its scoring. Erik Reynolds II had 19 in a win on Monday against La Salle. He’s averaging 17 points per game. Cam Brown and Lynn Greer III are the other two guards who can produce points in bunches.

Greer’s father Lynn played for Hall of Famer John Chaney at Temple from 1997-2002, a tenure that includes a medical redshirt year. Greer’s father was 7-3 against the Minutemen.

“We can be playing the Lakers in Los Angeles, it’s the challenge of doing better than we did at VCU,” Martin said, of playing the Hawks Saturday afternoon. “Preparing the right way and going in there and managing that moment than we did at VCU the other day.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com or



Howard Herman is a sports columnist at The Berkshire Eagle. The dean of full-time sportswriters in Western Mass., he has been with the Eagle since 1988, and is a member of the New England Baseball and Basketball Hall of Fame.

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