UMass dug themselves into a very big hole at halftime and despite a huge second half effort, couldn’t close the gap in the final minutes. After trailing by 26 at halftime, UMass (12-4, 1-1) cut the deficit to as few as six in the final two minutes, but couldn’t stop the red-hot Explorers (12-4, 2-0) at home.
LaSalle earned their 11th consecutive victory at the Tom Gola Arena, as they snapped UMass’ six-game winning streak with an 82-75 decision.
Chaz Williams led all scorers with 24 points in 31 minutes, before he fouled out. The sophomore point guard added five assists but also turned the ball over six times. Jesse Morgan turned his best performance of the season for the Minutemen, with 22 points, four steals and three rebounds in front of his hometown fans. Senior Sean Carter had his best game of the season as well, as he finished wtih 18 points and six rebounds in the loss.
Earl Pettis led four Explorers in double-figures with 19 points, four assists and five rebounds in the team’s fifth straight victory.
LaSalle shot over 50 percent in the first half and finished the game shooting 47 percent. The Minutemen were a bit more effective in the second half but only hit 42 percent of their attempts.
UMass fell behind 51-25 at halftime, as the Explorers dominated the paint and forced a bevy of Minutemen turnovers. The Minutemen used the same formula against LaSalle in the second half, forcing 15 of the team’s 24 turnovers to get back into the game.
A big difference in the game was 3-point shooting, as LaSalle drained 12 triples, while UMass hit just 5-of-15 attempts.