What a difference 24 hours can make. A day after being held to 53 points against Florida State, the Minutemen (5-1) posted 90 points, hit 15 3-pointers and hit fifty percent of their shots in a 90-75 victory over Utah (1-4).
Jesse Morgan led five UMass players in double figures as he hit five threes in the first half to give the Minutemen a 44-35 lead at the break. Point guard Chaz Williams added 14 points, seven assists and five steals as he outran a beleagured Utah side.
Javorn Farrell and Freddie Riley both chipped in 13 points and Raphaiel Putney had another big game with 12 points, after suffering an early-season injury. Senior Sean Carter finished with a team-high seven rebounds and six points in the winning effort.
Despite allowing the Utes to hit 60 percent of their attempts from the field and fifty percent from behind the arc, UMass held a double-digit lead for much of the game because of their defense and three-point shooting. Utah turned the ball over 19 times leading to 31 Minutemen points, the Utes scored just six points off 11 UMass turnovers.
Long-distance shooting was a struggle for Derek Kellogg's squad Thursday, but the Minutemen 15-of-30 attempts compared to just six Utah treys.
Josh Watkins led the Utes with 16 points, seven assists and three rebounds in 22 minutes of play. Two other Utes finished in double-figures in the losing effort, that saw the Utah drop its fourth game in a row.
The win pushes UMass into the Battle 4 Atlantis Fifth Place Game against the College of Charleston Saturday at 7 p.m.