It was business as usual for UMass against NJIT; balanced scoring, pressure defense and a few key runs were more than enough to take care of the Highlanders 79-58.
Javorn Farrell led the Minutemen with 17 points on 6-12 shooting and seven rebounds. It was the second highest total of his career and a season-high for the junior forward who had just 19 points in the season’s first two games.
Chaz Williams (15), Terrell Vinson (13) and Raphaiel Putney (12) all joined Farrell in double figures as UMass improve to 3-0 on the season. Vinson earned his second double-double and fifth of his career with 11 rebounds and Williams finished one assist shy of his second double-double of the season to go along with two turnovers. For the season, Williams now has 45 assists compared to just eight turnovers after sitting out last season due to transfer rules.
Especially impressive were the 12 points from Putney. The redshirt sophomore had played just six minutes prior to tonight’s game with a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the Northeastern game. All 12 of his points came in the first half on 4-6 shooting from behind the arc, before he fouled with 12:20 to go in the second half on a technical foul.
NJIT received a game high 18 points from Isiah Wilkerson but struggled shooting the ball at just 37 percent from the field and 26 percent from behind the arc. Dorchester native Chris Flores managed 11 points on 4-10 shooting, but was one of just five Highlander players to record more than one made field goal.
While the Highlanders proved more effective than UMass' first two opponents in handling the ball (15 turnovers), they struggled on the boards losing 50-33. UMass pulled down 18 offensive rebounds compared to just seven for the Highlanders.
Freshmen center Cady Lalanne led UMass with a career-high 14 rebounds including four on the offensive end in just 15 minutes of action.
NJIT managed to keep it even through the first 16 minutes of play with the teams trading leads seven times. But the first of four Putney 3-pointers in the final 4:16 of the first half gave UMass a 29-26 lead, a lead they would never relinquish.
Over the final 4:16 of the half, UMass went on a 18-2 run behind three more Putney triples and a traditional 3-point play by Vinson to give UMass a 44-28 lead at the break.
Out of the break both team’s struggled to hit shot with just five combined field goals in the first nine minutes of play. The Highlanders used a mini run to cut their deficit to 11 with 9:05 to play, but UMass responded with an 11-0 run to officially seal the game with 6:53 left.
With the win UMass extends their November winning streak to nine games in a row. Monday they will travel to Conte Forum to take on Boston College at 7PM looking to avenge last season’s loss. The Minutemen were 7-0 heading into the tilt against the Eagles, before falling 76-71 at the TD Garden as part of the Boston Tip-Off Classic.