AMHERST, Mass. — No. 13 Massachusetts suffered a loss at Richmond last Wednesday night that will cost the Minutemen some ground when the new AP Top 25 comes out on Monday.
But Sunday, in front of a packed house at the Mullins Center, Derek Kellogg’s team started a bit slow but then used a 20-0 run bridging the halves and hammered Fordham 90-52 in an Atlantic 10 game.
The Minutemen (17-2, 4-1 conference) spotted Fordham (8-11, 1-5) the game’s first seven points and didn’t score until forward Maxie Esho, coming off the bench, scored 3:18 into the game. It started a 24-5 run that all but ended things.
Guard Chaz Williams, the conference leader and No. 3 nationally in assists, had 18 points and eight assists before sitting out much of the second half for UMass. He was 4 of 6 from 3-point range, his team 13 of 27 for the game.
Forward Raphiael Putney and guard Trey Davis added 13 points apiece and Esho 10 points and six rebounds for the Minutemen.
Fordham, which has lost seven of its last eight, came in sporting two of the top three scorers in the conference — guards Jon Severe and Branden Frazier Nos. 1 and 3, respectively. Severe, averaging 23.2 points per game over the last nine, was 2 of 14 from the floor and scored five points, while Frazier, at 18.1 per game, managed 12 points.
Guard Chris Whitehead led the Rams with 13 points.
After needing more than three minutes to score their first points, the Minutemen recorded their eighth 40-point first half of the season and led by a season-high 16 at the half — the 24-5 run breaking things open early.
The Minutemen then came out and scored the first 15 points of the second half, hitting three straight 3-pointers.
By the time it was 57-24, the Minutemen had their biggest lead of the season and had outscored the visitors 57-17 since falling behind 7-0.
NOTES: UMass freshman G Demetrius Dyson hit a 3-pointer in the second half for his first college points. … Fordham lost for the 24th time in its last 25 games against ranked opponents, falling to 7-50 all-time against the Top 25. … G Chaz Williams moved into 11th place on the all-time UMass scoring list. … New UMass football coach Mark Whipple, beginning his second stay at the school, delivered a ceremonial first toss, then took the microphone to fire up the crowd. … Fordham is at Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday, while UMass, in the midst of five out of six and six out of eight games on the road, will try for a sweep of the two-game season series with St. Bonaventure in Olean, N.Y. the same night. … The coaches wore sneakers as part of Coaches vs. Cancer Weekend. … Sunday was UMass Hall of Fame induction day, with former basketball player Tony Barbee among the six honored.
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