UMass 80, Xavier 73: Chaz Williams' 29 Points Propel UMass To Victory

UMass ended a six-game losing streak against Xavier behind a career night from Chaz Williams. The point guard's 29 points were more than enough in the Minutemen's 80-73 win.

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UMass Vs. Xavier Final Score: Minutemen End Two Separate Slides in 80-71 Win

Chaz Williams has been the catalyst and leader of this young UMass team all season long. Unfortunately that has meant that when the team has struggled, a fair amount of the fingers have pointed at the sophomore point guard and his poor play by his standards. Despite consecutive double-doubles and stellar play out of the Hofstra transfer, the Minutemen came into Tuesday night's Atlantic 10 showdown against Xavier on a two-game losing streak. To make matters worse, the Musketeers had won six in a row against UMass.

Williams made sure those streaks ended Wednesday night at the Mullins Center. The smallest player on the court finished with a career-high 29 points and added nine assists in UMass' (19-8, 8-5 A10) 80-71 victory over Xavier (17-10, 8-5 A10). With the victory, the Minutemen moved into a three-way tie for third place in the A10 and a step closer to a potential first-round bye in the A10 Tournament.

But the night was all about Williams. He hit a career-high six 3-pointers, on eight attempts, knocked down 8-of-12 shots overall and finished a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe. For good measure he even chipped in five rebounds and two steals, while playing 38 minutes. The 29 points were a season-high for any player in a UMass uniform.

Raphiael Putney (13 points), Terrell Vinson (12 points) and Freddie Riley (12 points) joined Williams in double figures. Vinson finished with a team-high eight rebounds and Putney's three first-half 3-pointers were vital to the team's late first-half run that opened the game up.

Sophomore forward Dezmine Wells finished with a team-high 19 points for Xavier. The dynamic backcourt duo of Mark Lyons (15 points) and Tu Holloway (10 points) was held below its season average, but the combo did combine for 11 assists and just four of the team's 20 turnovers.

Sixteen of the Musketeers turnovers came in the first half leading to 15 UMass points, the Minutemen finished with 20 points off turnovers.

To make up for their deficiencies handling the ball, Xavier did win the battle of the boards by a hefty margin (40-30). It just wasn't enough to overcome the Minutemen's 41-29 halftime lead and UMass' 88.9 percent (16-of-18) shooting from the free throw line.

UMass faces the first leg of their hardest road trip of the season Saturday when they play at Dayton at 6 p.m. EDT. The Minutemen are just 6-7 this season away from home and 1-4 in conference games on the road.


UMass Vs. Xavier Halftime Update: UMass Uses Late Run To Open Up 41-29 Lead

UMass was able to pressure Xavier and create turnovers for 20 minutes, it took the Minutemen a little longer to get the offense heated up. Behind 24 combined points from Chaz Williams and Raphiael Putney the Minutemen grabbed their largest lead of the half right before the buzzer, as they own a 41-29 advantage at the break.

Williams (13 points) hit 5-of-7 attempts and chipped in with six assists and three late Putney 3-pointers helped him to 11 points.

Freshmen forward Dezmine Wells led the Musketeers with 11 points but also turned the ball over five times. Point guard Tu Holloway added seven points on 4-of-4 free throw shooting but also turned the ball over, as nine of ten Xavier players recorded at least one giveaway. Overall the Musketeers turned the ball over 16 times leading to 15 Minutemen points.

The Minutemen used a huge flourish to end the half with the lead. After trailing 21-19 with 7:08 to play, the Minutemen finished the half on a 22-8 run in front of a big crowd that included former Minutemen Victor Cruz.

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