It’s no secret that Trey Davis is the focal point of this Massachusetts team. In his final year in a Minutemen uniform, Davis has developed into one of the premier scoring threats in the Atlantic 10, demonstrating his skills as an elusive guard that can beat teams from the outside and off the dribble. He is also one of the most improved players over the course of the season, upping his junior year point average of 10. 8 to this year’s 18.6. However in the face of do-or-die elimination, what can Davis truly offer to this team?
At 13-17 (6-12 A-10), UMass isn’t expected to make a ton of noise in Brooklyn. Their .333 conference win record is less than commendable and even with the play of Davis, it is unlikely that this team finds itself in any type of postseason tournament. After all, the Minutemen are 180th in the KenPom rankings, nothing to brag about. However, a closer look at UMass’ tournament schedule reveals an interesting anomaly: both their first round and possible second round matchups come against teams they have beaten during the regular season, and Davis was key in both of those games.
On Thursday, Massachusetts takes on Rhode Island, a team they beat in overtime 61-56 on Feb. 2. Davis scored 20 points in that game, playing 41 hard-fought minutes. In the Minutemen’s win over VCU, the team they could possibly face on Friday, Davis scored 18 points including two free throws in the closing seconds to seal the deal. Sophomore Donte Clark also added 22 of his own.
Believe it or not, UMass has not had a conference win this season in which Davis has scored less than 18 points. Not only is this a testament to the impact that he can have on the court, it shows that UMass simply cannot win if he doesn’t perform at high standards. Sure, there have been games such as the loss against St. Bonaventure last week in which Davis scored 26 in a losing effort, but the reality remains that if Davis doesn’t perform, his team will not.
If I’m URI head coach Dan Hurley, my number one priority is making sure that my team contains Trey Davis. UMass is a team that needs to be forced to give their secondary scorers more shots. Clark and third-leading scorer Jabarie Hinds will need to step up as well, especially in the face of a possible double-team against Davis. The offense comes from the senior, but if opponents can stop it then they have a good chance of walking away victorious.
Davis is special. We’ll see if he shines bright in The City That Never Sleeps.