AMHERST, Mass. -
Junior guard Donte Clark
led a dozen Minutemen in the scoring column with 12 points as balance keyed Massachusetts men's basketball to a 72-48 victory over Pacific at the Mullins Center on Thursday in the first game of the Gotham Classic. UMass improved to 6-2 on the season with the win while the Tigers fell to 3-5 following their first-ever trip to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
chipped in nine points, three steals and as many assists. A trio of Minutemen collected eight points - C.J. Anderson
, Seth Berger
and Malik Hines
- while Hines took home the game's Most Outstanding Player award with five rebounds, two assists, a pair of blocks and one steal over 17 turnover-free minutes on the court.
"I was pretty happy – especially in the second half – with the way our team responded," head coach Derek Kellogg
said. "We just played the game the right way for longer stretches than we had in the first half. It was kind of funny to see numerous guys trying to win the game on their own for about a 12-minute stretch there. I think our effort, hopefully our selflessness and things of that nature, are all coming around and evident to the people watching our team play. I think they're competing at a pretty good level, and when you can do that for a full 40 minutes and continue to play the right way good things can happen."
The Minutemen struggled from the floor early to the tune of a 27-22 deficit with three minutes, 49 seconds to go in the first half. However, the squad rallied together for a halftime-spanning 23-2 run that turned the five-point disadvantage into a 45-29 margin with 15:27 to go in the game.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Anderson and Tyrn Flowers
jump-started the dominant scoring stretch before Hines converted on two plays at the rim for a 32-27 halftime lead.
Massachusetts put forth another series of consecutive 3-pointers at the opening of the second half - one each from Pipkins and Berger - as the advantage jumped to double-digits for the first time at 38-27. The lead never dwindled below nine points the remainder of the way and ballooned as large as 26 points, 70-44, following Rayshawn Miller's
first collegiate 3-point make with 2:12 remaining.
The Minutemen continue the season with a road trip to Providence (7-2) for a Sat., Dec. 10 contest at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@UMassBasketball) for updates on the program throughout the season.