Minutemen defeat Huskies despite Tyson Walker’s efforts


Sarah Olender

Sophomore guard Tyson Walker scored 29 points, but it was not enough for the Huskies to overcome a solid UMass team.

Eamonn Ryan, deputy sports editor

Sophomore guard Tyson Walker poured in 29 points for the men’s basketball team and freshman forward Jahmyl Telfort added 13 off the bench, but it was not enough as the Huskies fell 94-79 to UMass.

Leading the Minutemen was sophomore forward Tre Mitchell with 31 points and 11 rebounds and freshman guard Javohn Garcia, who scored 23 points. Turnovers were the story of the game, as the Huskies coughed up the ball 17 times due to the heavy press from UMass.

“I didn’t think we handled [the press] well to start,” said head coach Bill Coen. “When you go against a pressing team, you have to keep your composure. And we had moments where we did that and we had moments where it led to 6-0, 8-0 runs that stretched the game out.”

The Huskies’ defense had a difficult time containing Mitchell, who did a little bit of everything. He made two three-pointers, had one block, one steal and three offensive rebounds in 33 minutes. Mitchell, a sophomore, was named to the Karl Malone Award Preseason Watch List and received preseason first-team all-A10 honors.

For, Walker contributed five steals and four assists, and got to the free throw line effectively, finishing 13-14 from the line. His 37 minutes were the most by any player, and the preseason all-CAA second-team honoree was by far the Huskies’ most explosive and impactful player on the court. Even UMass head coach Matt McCall had high praise for the New Hampton School product.

“We knew going into the game with [Jordan] Roland having graduated and moved on that Tyson was going to be able to have the freedom that Roland had, because that’s just how good Tyson is,” McCall said. 

Also contributing for NU were Telfort and redshirt junior forward Jason Strong, who finished with 11 points and four rebounds. Notre Dame transfer and redshirt sophomore Chris Doherty also added eight points, but fouled out with six minutes to go. Shaquille Walters, a redshirt junior forward, had four points and led the team with six rebounds, but also fouled out.

Telfort, Doherty and freshman guard J’vonne Hadley all donned a Husky uniform for the first time today, and Coen knew that while there were some growing pains, there is plenty of improvement to come.

“I thought everybody had moments and a lot of room to grow,” said Coen. “When you’re looking out there on the court and there’s three freshman out there at one time or a brand new player in your program … the timing’s gonna be a little off, the jitters are going to be there, hopefully we’ll settle down. I do think this group has tremendous potential.”

The Minutemen’s depth and intense pressure led to a lot of easy points, and they finished with 24 points off turnovers compared to NU’s seven. They also grabbed 12 offensive rebounds, twice as many as the Huskies, and capitalized, scoring 14 second-chance points. 

“[The press is] something we work on a lot, pretty much every single day,” said Mitchell. “I think honestly it’s just our depth, being able to rotate guys through and those guys come in and bring the same level of energy.”

The good news for the Huskies is that they have another shot at UMass Sunday, Dec. 13 at noon, but this time they’ll be at home in the Cabot Center. Adjustments will need to be made in order to slow the offensive rush of Mitchell and the Minutemen.

“Obviously Mitchell is a terrific player. We tried different things to contain him but he kind of dominated the game a little bit,” Coen said. “We’ll just have to do a better job on him on Sunday.”