No. 22 UMass beats BYU in Springfield, moves to 8-0
SPRINGFIELD -- Brigham Young basketball coach Dave Rose had the right idea going into his game against the University of Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon.
"I thought if we could get in the mid 90s, we'd win," he said.
The idea was right, but the math was wrong. Chaz Williams scored a career-high 32 points and was one of six UMass players to score in double figures as the 22nd-ranked and undefeated Minutemen beat the visitors from Utah 105-96 before a sellout crowd at the MassMutual Center.
UMass (8-0) took the lead for keeps early in the first half when Raphiael Putney hit back-to-back 3-point baskets to break an 8-8 tie. The Minutemen led by as many as 17 points in the game and the Cougars, playing in front of alumnus and Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge, never caught up.
Tyler Haws had 25 points to lead the Cougars (7-3), who had five players finish in double digits.
"The guys played selfless," said UMass coach Derek Kellogg. "They played to win, which is slowly becoming a staple of this team, which I guess I'm most proud of."
Kellogg was a point guard during his UMass years, and he often breaks into a smile when the subject of his current point guard is brought up. Williams had 16 points and 8 assists at halftime, and was stuck without a point for the first 13 minutes of the second half. But the senior guard from Brooklyn drained a 3-pointer with 7 minutes to play, and helped carry the Minutemen the rest of the way.
He scored another 16 points in the final 7 minutes and had 7 more assists in the second half.
"Honestly, I'm not a big points guy. I'm more impressed by getting assists than anything," said Williams, who registered his 13th career double-double. "To get the 32 is a plus and it helped us win.
"This was about my teammates making shots and I credit those guys."
Sampson Carter scored a career-high 20 points before fouling out for the first time this year. Starters Raphiael Putney and Derrick Gordon had 15 and 10 points respectively. Maxie Esho scored 12 off the bench and Trey Davis added 11. Davis and Gordon both had six assists each, as the Minutemen registered 29 assists in the game.
UMass led 52-41 in an entertaining first half. But BYU, playing its third Top 25 team in the past two weeks, came out strong in the second half. The Cougars scored six unanswered points while UMass had two turnovers and a missed trey by Putney. Matt Carlino scored on a coast-to-coast drive after he rebounded Putney's miss, and that forced Kellogg to call time out with 18:28 left. The 11-point lead was now 5.
"I've watched [BYU] on tape enough that they can run 25 points off before you blink," said Kellogg. "The timeout wasn't anything X's and O's. It was more settle down and play harder."
Gordon missed out of the timeout, BYU freshman center Eric Mika rebounded and Carlino converted on the fast break, making it 52-49.
UMass held BYU to one basket over the next three minutes, outscoring the Cougars 12-4. The momentum-changing hoop belonged to Esho, who threw down a dunk with 16:51 left in the game. Esho, who got the crowd of 7,331 excited with the dunk, scored six points in that run.
"When they went on that run, the first thing I said is ‘Hey, they're here now,' and to try not to force anything coming out of the timeout," said Carter. "After that, I realized they're here and we have to finish."
The win improves UMass' record in Springfield since 1990 to 20-4, and it was the program's first 100-point effort since beating LaSalle 100-63 in 2008.
The Minutemen are off until Saturday, when they host Northern Illinois at the Mullins Center. By then, Kellogg's team might be moving up in the Top 25.
"I haven't heard much talk around the locker room or in practice about being ranked," said Kellogg. "It's more what's next, the next practice or the next game. I'm impressed with that."
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