AMHERST, Mass. –
University of Massachusetts men's basketball relied on the steady shooting of junior guard C.J. Anderson
and sophomore forward Malik Hines
for a 62-55 victory over Wager at the Mullins Center on Wednesday. The Minuteman duo finished the contest 12-for-16 from the floor for a combined 33 points as UMass improved to 5-1 overall with victories in the last four contests.
"Our guys showed a little guts to pull out a win," head coach Derek Kellogg
said. "It was nice to see our older guys act like older guys and make some plays down the stretch, whether it was C.J. (Anderson), Malik (Hines) or Donte (Clark)."
Anderson led both sides with a career-best 19 points (8-11 FG, 3-4 3FG) while he also had three rebounds, three assists and a steal in 33 minutes. Hines also set personal bests with 14 points (4-5 FG, 6-7 FT) and eight rebounds. Hines added a pair of steals and one assist without a turnover during 27 minutes.
The Minutemen led by as many as 11 late in the first half but the Seahawks chipped their deficit down to five at the break before they evened the contest up in the second half.
Tied at 47-all with nine minutes, 21 seconds to go, Donte Clark
put Massachusetts up for good when he slashed to the basket for two of his 11 points on the night. The Maroon and White kept hold of a slim lead over the next four minutes before Anderson, Hines and Clark combined for a 12-4 run that pushed the advantage to nine, 61-52 with 1:55 left on the scoreboard.
"For team unity and making sure everybody is involved in the process, this was a good game for us," Kellogg said. "A lot of guys, different guys, got big minutes, and I thought Malik (Hines) and C.J. (Anderson) really shinned in their opportunities."
Anderson started the game-clinching streak with a layup and he added a corner 3-pointer two possessions later that pushed the advantage to 55-50 with 4:44 to go.
"Only being up two points at that time, I saw I was wide open and no one was there in the zone, so I took my time to set my feet and knock it in," Anderson said of his third made 3-pointer of the evening.
Anderson's late-game efforts capped a career performance for the junior from Memphis, Tennessee, as he opened the game 5-for-5 from the floor, including a pair of made 3-pointers.
The Minutemen continue their homestand with a Sat., Dec. 3 game against UCF at 1 p.m. in the Mullins Center. Ticket information is available via 866-UMASS-TIX, in-person at the Mullins Center Box Office (9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.) or online through UMass Ticket Central.
Follow UMass men's basketball on Twitter and Instagram (@UMassBasketball).