UMass has struggled on the road all season but heart and energy have never been a problem for Derek Kellogg's young squad. After 20 minutes in Starkville, the (5) Minutemen have jumped all over (4) Mississippi State 41-31 using their pressure defense and hustle to overcome a Bulldogs team that faded down the stretch during the regular season.
Sophomore point guard Chaz Williams paced the Minutemen attack with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting and knocked down one of the team's three 3-pointers. Junior forwards Terrell Vinson and Javorn Farrell chipped in with seven points apiece and have dominated down low as UMass has outscored their hosts 24-14 through 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs have been extremely one-dimensional, with junior forward Arnett Moultrie pouring in 18 of the team's 31 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Moultrie hit two 3-pointers in the first half, after connecting on just six threes all year long. Senior guard Dee Bost managed to add seven points, despite dealing with two fouls for much of the half.
UMass got out to an 8-0 start and never looked back, as the Minutemen have led the entire way thus far. After the Bulldogs chipped the lead down to four, UMass extended the lead to 13 late in the half, before an and-one layup by Moultrie.