Friday, January 03, 2014
ATHENS, Ohio — The University of Massachusetts isn’t relying on just one or two players to keep its unbeaten season going.
Maxie Esho and Chaz Williams both had double-doubles and three others scored in double figures as the 22nd-ranked Minutemen beat Ohio 83-71 on Wednesday night.
“I thought we played really well offensively,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “We’re getting a lot of contributions from a lot of different players.”
Esho had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Williams had 11 points and 11 assists for the Minutemen (10-0), who shot 61.5 percent from the field (32 of 53) and led by as many as 19 points.
Sampson Carter added 14 points, including eight straight in the second half, while Derrick Gordon scored 13 points and Raphiael Putney added 11 for the Minutemen.
“It’s been like that (a team effort) since the start of the season,” Esho said. “We got some good looks.”
UMass, which never trailed in the road win, was 9 of 14 (64.3 percent) from 3-point range.
Maurice Ndour scored 16 points for Ohio (7-3), which made just five of 24 attempts from 3-point range (20.8 percent).
Nick Kellogg made two second half 3-pointers and finished with 12 points for the Bobcats, who were playing their first home game against a ranked opponent since 1997.
“We wanted to make sure that we stayed connected with him (Nick Kellogg) and made the game hard on him,” Derek Kellogg said. “If you have an older team, they can do a good job of paying attention to scouting reports more so than when you have younger guys and I think that’s been a good advantage for us.”
UMass led by as many as 13 points in the first half and was up 45-34 at halftime. Putney had all of his points before halftime and Williams had 10 in the opening 20 minutes.
“I’m fortunate to have one of the best point guards in college basketball on my team,” Derek Kellogg said. “He’s not worrying about scoring, he’s really worrying about how good he can be for our team and the reality of it is that he controls the game when he’s on his game.”
Carter made all three of his 3-point attempts.
The Minutemen shot 65 percent from the field in the first half while the Bobcats shot 42 percent including going just 1 of 11 from beyond the arc.
Ohio, which finished with a 38-37 rebound advantage, cut its deficit to 53-47 with 16 minutes remaining, but UMass scored nine consecutive points — six by Esho — to pull away.
“Every time we got back in the game, you know, we made a double mistake,” Ohio coach Jim Christian said. “We’d have a bad possession on offense and combine it with a bad defensive possession, so I give them credit, they made us pay.”
The Bobcats turned the ball over just eight times, compared to 15 by the Minutemen.
“They seem pretty grounded and level-headed (through this winning streak),” Derek Kellogg said. “A team like Ohio U. is a high RPI game, so I think this is a good game for us.”
UMass plays Florida State on Saturday in the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at Sunrise, Fla. The game will be televised on NESN.