AMHERST, Mass. (UMassAthletics.com) – A 51 percent shooting night for the UMass men’s basketball team propelled the Minutemen to an 81-53 win over Rhode Island on Wednesday night in the Mullins Center. Paced by Chaz Williams’ game-high 27 points, UMass connected on 28-of-54 baskets including 9-of-19 three point shots en route to the largest victory of the season.
The win improves the Minutemen to 15-6 overall and 5-3 in the Atlantic 10, while the loss drops Rhode Island to 6-15 overall and 1-7 in league play. UMass will return to action on Saturday against Saint Joseph’s with tip-off set for 2:00 PM on ESPN2.
Williams also added eight assists while shooting 9-of-14 from the field. Three other Minutemen hit double-figures with Terrell Vinson scoring 13 points, Cady Lalanne adding 11 and Maxie Esho recording 10 points.
Rhode Island was led by Xavier Munford’s 22 points with Andrew Malone adding 10 as the second leading scorer. The Rams hit 18-of-54 shots (33.3%) and were just 7-of-30 from beyond the arc.
The opening ten minutes were tightly contested before UMass broke a 21-21 deadlock with 11 unanswered, including eight from Williams. The Rams went scoreless for nearly five minutes before a pair of Xavier Munford free throws with 4:28 to play.
UMass led by 13 before a Munford 3-pointer at the buzzer sent the teams into the locker room with the Minutemen up 41-31.
The Minutemen came out of the break and pushed the lead to 51-31 with the first 10 points of the half. The lead stayed in the mid-teens for much of the remainder of the game with UMass holding a 23-point edge with 8:10 left following a Williams-to-Cady Lalanne alley-opp. UMass also had an 11 rebound advantage over Rhode Island (38-to-27) and converted 12 Rams’ turnovers into 19 points. The Minutemen also commanded a 34-to-10 edge in the paint.