There have been plenty of questions raised in the offensive category when looking at UMass basketball to start the season.
Their inconsistency to score the basketball through the first couple of games was evident as the Minutemen lost to Central Florida and Cornell.
However, after scraping together a victory over a pesky Quinnipiac team last Wednesday, UMass put together their best offensive and overall performance in a weekend victory over a struggling Holy Cross team.
With the back-to-back wins, UMass has improved to 4-4 on the young season and eight games in, head coach Derek Kellogg has seemed to have found a consistent duo within his offense.
Senior Ricky Harris was expected to put up big numbers offensively and be the go-to-guy for UMass. He has lived up to those expectations early on.
Harris’ 18.0 points per game and 3.1 assists per game are best on the team in both categories. However, Harris is averaging almost four turnovers per contest as well.
The senior has done a decent job in picking his shots so far this year. Harris is shooting 48 percent from the field, while leading the team in averaging just under 13 shots per game.
It has seemed that Harris, as expected, would be up among the team’s leading scorers each game, but with that being said, the next question would be who else would be there to help contribute?
The answer to that has been Anthony Gurley. A former Top-100 recruit as rated by Rivals.com in 2006, Gurley transferred to UMass following only one season at Wake Forest.
The Massachusetts product has emerged as a key contributor for Coach Kellogg putting up great offensive numbers to begin the year.
Gurley, a 2006 graduate of Newton North High School in Newton, Massachusetts has only started three of the first eight games. But even when he comes off the bench for UMass he has able to find an offensive flow quickly.
Gurley is second to Harris in scoring, averaging 17.8 point per game and is third on the team with 4.2 rebounds per game.
Like Harris, Gurley has shot the ball particularly well at 52.9 percent from the field while leading the team in free throw attempts per game. Through this part of the season, he has been able to display his versatility in being able to shoot, as well as get to the line.
It has not been a great start to the season for the Minutemen, but at 4-4 overall they prepare for a key road game at Seton Hall on Monday. They will enter the game on a two-game winning streak, which includes the victory over Quinnipiac and one over Holy Cross.
Seton Hall is expected to give UMass more of a test than they have had in either of those two contests, but the Minutemen are coming off their best performance of the year and will look to build off that as they head into New Jersey.
UMass (4-4) and Seton Hall (6-0) will match up at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7.
*Photo Credit: Masslive.com/Eric Gallant/J. Anthony Roberts