Nov. 16, 2012
BAYAMON, P.R. — Massachusetts put five players in double figures but it wasn’t enough as sixth-ranked North Carolina State claimed a 94-76 victory in the semifinals of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez Friday.
UMass (2-1) shot 40 percent and collected season-highs with nine 3-pointers, 13-of-18 from the free throw line and 72 pct. from the stripe. The Minutemen also made nine 3-pointers.
Jesse Morgan led the Minutemen in scoring for the third-consecutive game, finishing with 15 points on 4-of-9 from outside. He is now shooting 40 pct from beyond the arc on 10-of-25 for the year. It was Morgan’s three triples in the first half that kept UMass within striking distance, despite never leading in the contest.
Chaz Williams and Terrell Vinson were each 5-of-9 with 13 points, while Maxie Esho busted out with his best performance of the week with 12 points in 24 minutes. Raphiael Putney scored all 10 of his points in the second half and also collected six rebounds.
NC State (3-0) played with UMass and its fast-paced style as it finished shooting 57 pct. The Minutemen did force four turnovers with its press.
T.J. Warren led all players with 21 points and Richard Howell had 19 and nine boards. Scott Wood added 15 points as he connected on five of the Wolfpack’s eight 3-pointers.
NC State ran out to a 12-2 lead in the opening four minutes before UMass pulled to within 16-14 as a result of a 12-4 run. The margin stayed in signal digits for much of the half before a 12-4 Pack stretch over the final 3:42 gave NC State a 48-32 lead at the break.
The teams traded scores early in the second before UMass trimmed the deficit to 11 on an Esho dunk with 16:15 to play. From there, NC State pushed its lead to as many as 27 with 2:47 remaining. UMass will face Tennessee in the third-place game on Sunday evening. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. ET with the game being shown on ESPNU and aired on the UMass Sports Network.