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UMass 86, Towson 56 Final: Minutemen Too Much For Tigers

All Derek Kellogg’s squad needed was a little bit of chilly December weather and the Towson Tigers to get back on track. After losing two of three in the Bahamas, Chaz Williams and UMass (6-2) held a comfortable lead from start to finish in knocking off Towson (0-6) 86-56.

Freddie Riley led the Minutemen with 15 points on just eight attempts in 16 minutes of play. Chaz Williams (12 points), Cady Lalanne (11 points) and Raphiael Putney (10 points) joined Riley in double figures in a contest where UMass faced little opposition on the offensive end. More than half of the Minutemen’s points (51) came from the bench as Jesse Morgan got his first start of the season ahead of Chaz Williams.

Morgan had a career-high nine assists, one more than Williams on the night, and added eight points on 27 minutes. Lalanne ripped down nine rebounds and six blocks for the Minutemen who were without Sampson Carter due to a “lower body injury.”

Fifth-year senior Robert Nwankwo led all players in scoring (19 points) and rebounds (14) for the Tigers. No other Towson players finished in double figures despite the Tigers finishing seven points above their season average.

Despite their early season struggles, Towson continued to dominate on the boards with a 50-43 advantage. Nwankwo grabbed nine of the team’s 21 offensive rebounds that lead to an 18-4 advantage in second-chance points.

Unfortunately for Towson, their poor ballhandling continued to be an achilles heel as they committed 17 turnovers in the first half and 26 for the game. UMass turned the Tigers errors into 37 points, helping to build a 16-point lead (44-28) at half.

The Minutemen jumped out to a 9-1 lead behind a Putney 3-pointer, the first of the team’s 13 treys on the night. After two losses where the 3-point shot cost them, UMass limited their attempts from beyond the arc until garabage time, eventually taking 28, one above their season average.

Towson would keep the gap at five points through the first seven minutes, but the Minutemen went on a 16-2 run to open up a 19-point lead over the next five minutes.

Another 18-6 run early in the second half put the game completely out of reach as Kellogg was able to empty his bench with more than five minutes remaining in the blowout.

The Minutemen will leave the friendly confines of Amherst where they are 5-0 and travel to Miami Saturday when they take on the Hurricanes at 1 p.m.