Saturday night could not come soon enough for the Minutemen after Wednesday night's overtime upset loss to Rhode Island. UMass (17-6, 6-3 Atlantic 10) made it count as they played one of their strongest games on the road all season, earning an 86-75 victory over George Washington (8-15, 3-6 A10).
Junior forward Terrell Vinson led four Minutemen in double figures with 21 points on an efficient 8-of-11 shooting. Point guard Chaz Williams overcame his road struggles with 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and just three turnovers, after his nine turnover performance in Rhode Island. Sophomore forward Raphiael Puntey just missed his fourth career double-double, as he finished with eight points and a team-high eight rebounds.
The Minutemen shot a crisp 55 percent (35-of-56) from the field and knocked down eight 3-pointers. They also momentarily righted their road turnover problem, as UMass dished out 18 assists compared to just 11 turnovers. UMass' bench was a big difference in the game, as the Freddie Riley (12 points) and Javorn Farrell (11 points) helped the Minutemen outscored the Colonials bench 28-16.
Senior point guard Tony Taylor tried to carry the Colonials on his back, as he finished with a game-high 26 points and five assists. Taylor knocked down 7-of-15 shots and was nearly perfect from the free throw line (11-of-12). Fellow senior guard Dwayne Smith was the only other George Washington player in double figures, as he poured in 16 points in 31 minutes of action. Junior forward David Pellom had a huge game in his return from an injury that kept him out for the prior three games. Pellom finished with nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench.
George Washington managed to stick with the Minutemen on the boards (33-33) and even outscore the forward-heavy Minutemen in points in the paint (40-38). But the team's long-distance shooting hurt them. The Colonials connected on just 2-of-15 (12.5 percent) of their 3-point attempts.
UMass held a slim lead for most of the first 25 minutes, before they managed to break the game open. With the Minutemen holding a 45-41 lead with 16:11 to play, Williams led a quick 6-0 run to give UMass its first double-digit lead in almost 20 minutes. George Washington would cut the deficit to as few as six points with six minutes remaining but never really challenged, as the Minutemen consistently found a way to get a quick basket behind Williams.
The Minutemen return to Amherst Wednesday looking to extend their 11-0 mark at home, when they host St. Bonaventure at 7p.m. EDT.