AMHERST, Mass. (UMassAthletics.com)- The UMass men’s basketball team held off a second-half Saint Joseph’s rally and cruised to a 80-62 win, Saturday evening on the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Mullins Center. The Minutemen set a season-high with 10 dunks helping to a 42-20 point advantage over the Hawks in the paint. Terrell Vinson was one of four Minutemen in double-figures, leading the way with 18 points.
With the win, UMass improves 16-6 overall and 6-3 in Atlantic 10 play. Saint Joseph’s drops to 13-9 and 4-5 in conference play.
Coming out of the half Saint Joe’s went on a 12-5 run over the first six minutes of play to cut the Minutemen lead to four. That would be as close as the Hawks would get as UMass went on a 17-8 run down the stretch to seal the win.
With the score tied at 24, UMass scored eight-consecutive in the paint, including three possessions with fast-break dunks to claim a 32-24 lead with 2:39 left.
Following a pair of Saint Joseph’s free throws, the margin reached double-digits as the Minutemen closed the period with another transition layup and two of their five 3-pointers. The 40-26 lead matched their highest of the year.
UMass got the lead back to double-digits at 59-47 with a steal and dunk from Riley with 8:45 left. The Hawks came right back with a 7-0 run to climb within five at 59-54 and just under seven minutes to play.
UMass responded with 11 unanswered to extend the advantage to a comfortable 50-54 margin with 3:30 left.
Vinson, Sampson Carter, Chaz Williams and Freddie Riley all scored in double-figures for UMass. Williams was one assist shy of his fourth double-double of the season, finishing with 11 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and one block.
Langston Galloway led the Hawks with 14 points. Halil Kanacevic finished with 12 points off the bench all in the second-half to spark the Saint Joseph’s rally.
The Minutemen will now hit the road for a Valentines Day match-up with Virginia Commonwealth before returning home on February 16 to take on Temple. Both games will be aired on CBS Sports Network with the VCU game tipping-off at 9 p.m.