When an unranked team beats a ranked team to go 5-0, they mean business. The UMass Minutemen beat the nineteenth ranked New Mexico Lobos 81-65 in today’s first semifinal matchup of the Charleston Classic.
UMass produced a balanced scoring attack with four players in double figures. The leading scorer for the Minutemen was senior guard Chaz Williams with 19 points. Williams tacked on five assists and five rebounds as well. Senior forward Raphiael Putney had 18 points and 4 rebounds. Junior center Cady Lalanne came up big for UMass with 16 points and 14 rebounds.
New Mexico relied heavily on center Alex Kirk who had 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocks. It is still under question whether Anthony Davis was in the game for Kirk with those kind of numbers. Senior guard Kendall Williams added 13 points, 5 assists, and 7 turnovers. Turnovers were the story for the Lobos who had 18 to UMass’s 13. The turnovers as well as UMass’s slight rebounding advantage helped the Minutemen get off 10 more shots than the Lobos. The Minutemen also made a higher percentage of shots than New Mexico, leading to a decisive UMass victory.
UMass will play the winner of tonight’s Davidson v. Clemson game on Sunday in the final of the Charleston Classic. It is early in the season, but today’s win should be remembered. I believe UMass’s veteran leadership will be an asset throughout the season, and may lead to a run in the tournament come March.