BOSTON — Just over three minutes into the second half, the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball team appeared to be in trouble. After a 9-2 run put Boston College ahead by nine, UMass coach Derek Kellogg called timeout.
A different team came out of the break than the one that went in. Sampson Carter scored seven straight points to launch a 33-9 run that turned the game. UMass rolled from there, posting an 86-73 season-opening win at the Coaches vs. Cancer Boston Tip-Off at TD Garden on Sunday.
Carter (12 points, eight rebounds) missed a layup late in the first half and was angry with himself at intermission. But he more than atoned for it. Out of the timeout he grabbed the ball on the left block and went hard inside. Despite being fouled by BC’s Ryan Anderson (22 points, seven rebounds), Carter’s shot went in and so did the free throw to cut BC’s deficit to 45-39 with 16:22 left.
After a Chaz Williams steal at the other end, Carter finished a layup to make it 45-41 bringing the decidedly pro-UMass crowd to life. Another steal led to another Carter layup followed by a Maxie Esho layup that tied the game at 45-45.
“I got down on myself for missing that layup,” Carter said. “It added fuel to my fire to bring us back.”
Williams said the sequence lifted the Minutemen.
“It gave us a huge boost. He was in the locker room beating himself up,” Williams said. “We all told him ‘You’re good bro. You’re going to get it right.’ He sparked the run. We all kind of finished it.”
Joe Rahon hit a 3-pointer to briefly stem the tide for BC, but the Minutemen kept momentum as the teams briefly went back and forth.
A 3 by Williams with 11:16 left launched an 18-3 UMass run that included nine of Williams’ 20 points and knocked out the Eagles.
BC couldn’t matchup with UMass junior center Cady Lalanne. Lalanne finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds.
“The kid Lalanne absolutely demolished us on the boards,” BC coach Steve Donahue said. “He kind of bull-rushed us. He took the ball off us like he should and put the ball in the basket. ... He plays hard as heck. He smelled blood and he took advantage of it.”
UMass outrebounded BC 44-27.
Coming in, the game figured to feature two teams led by high-profile guards, but Williams and BC’s Olivier Hanlan were quiet in a disjointed first half. Williams, who had five first-half points, caught fire in the second half. He was 5 for 5 from 3-point range in the game and had a four-point play. Hanlan eventually reached 19 points, but 10 of those came in the final six minutes with UMass ahead by double digits.
“I was happy with the way our team performed today,” Kellogg said.
The Minutemen (1-0) won’t have much time to rest. They host Louisiana State, Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the Mullins Center.