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Holloway responds against Cougars

  • UMass center Rashaan Holloway dunks past BYU forward Dalton Nixon during Saturday’s 68-66 loss to BYU at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Minuteman big man responded after being called out by UMass coach Matt McCall following a loss to Minnesota on Friday. AP Photo



For The Recorder
Sunday, November 26, 2017

NEW YORK — After his team’s 69-51 loss to Minnesota Friday, UMass coach Matt McCall got after Rashaan Holloway in the locker room and again in the team’s scouting meeting for Saturday’s game against BYU later that night at the Barclays Center.

He prodded his junior big man again before the game and finally liked what he got.

McCall wasn’t happy with UMass’ 68-66 loss to BYU in the Barclays Center Classic, but he hoped one positive was that Holloway got going. Holloway finished with 16 points and eight rebounds in a foul-shortened 16 minutes.

“Rashaan was aggressive. For the first time all year, he’s been aggressive. Now we’ve got to piece it all together. Now he can’t go back to not being aggressive,” McCall said. “I told Rashaan there are NBA scouts there. They’re watching Minnesota, they’re watching Alabama. You’re on their list. You can get crossed off their list pretty quickly if you don’t come with an edge and a focus. Just play hard.

“An NBA scout asked me why Rashaan doesn’t play hard. He has to understand he’s in a fish bowl. He’s been getting some notoriety because of what he’s done in the past, but he’s got to produce now,” McCall continued. “He had that effort tonight. It’s got to be like that with Rashaan every single night.”

McCall said Holloway didn’t shrink from being yelled at.

“He responded the right way. I was pretty animated with him during the game yesterday and I was pretty animated last night in our meetings. He wants that,” McCall said. “He doesn’t shy from that. He doesn’t shy from coaches coaching him or being on him. He likes it and he needs it. We have to continue, as a staff, to do that.”

Holloway said he challenged himself to be better.

“After the last two games, I looked in the mirror and realized I wasn’t playing to the best of my ability,” he said. “I wasn’t playing the way Rashaan is supposed to play. I came out here completely focused on being aggressive and trying to find ways to help my team win. It’s just my mindset going into the game, being focused. I just have to be focused on what we need to do to win the game. I can’t be focused on anything else. When I play aggressive, everybody feeds off it. The last couple of games I haven’t been doing that.”

PRODDING ANDERSON Holloway wasn’t the only player McCall prodded. He challenged senior guard C.J. Anderson to do more after a six-point, seven-assist, six-turnover effort.

“C.J. has to be more aggressive to score. He’s almost too unselfish,” McCall said. “You want guys that make the right play. He’s so explosive and so athletic, at times when he’s able to get down the lane like that, he has to use his body and finish through contact.”

MISCELLANEOUS

The Minutemen struggled to start each of the halves against Minnesota and BYU. In the first 3:10 of each half, UMass was outscored a combined 30-4. ... Brooklyn native Unique McLean had eight points in his return to his home borough Saturday.