AMHERST, Mass. –
University of Massachusetts men's basketball team used a 14-0 run late in the first half while holding to Western Carolina without a field goal for almost 15 minutes of game time on their way to an 85-76 win on Tuesday night at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen (3-1 Overall) had four players score in double-digits, led by Luwane Pipkins
' double-double with 21 points and 10 assists.
Western Carolina (1-4 Overall) jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first moments of the contest after UMass was called for five fouls early, eventually stretching their lead to seven at 17-10 after opening the night 7-of-9 from the field.
UMass steadily chipped away at the Catamounts' lead, beginning with back-to-back buckets from Chris Baldwin
that was capped off by a 3-pointer to cut the lead down to two at 12-10. Baldwin ended the night with a career-high 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field while going 2-of-3 deep.
Pipkins helped jumpstart the UMass offense with a make from behind the arc with 12:47 remaining in the first before C.J. Anderson
went 3-of-4 at the line in consecutive possessions to bring the Minutemen within one. UMass shot 91-percent from the line on 20-of-22 while Western Carolina went 24-of-31.
knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to bring UMass back within a point after falling behind by six before Baldwin gave the Minutemen their first lead of the night with 6:02 left in the first at 31-30. Pierre's second three started a 14-0 UMass run that saw the home team seize control and never surrender the lead for the remainder of the game as they went into the locker room for halftime with a 42-35 advantage.
Western Carolina connected on their first field goal since 8:45 in the first with 13:48 remaining in the game, a jumper from Marc Gosselin, before rallying to cut the UMass lead down to one twice at 53-52 and 55-54.
put in a key bucket from behind the line to put UMass up 58-54, starting a quick 11-0 run to go ahead that was capped off by a Pipkins steal and assist to Pierre for the dunk that put the home team ahead 66-54. Miller chipped in eight points while the freshman Pierre nearly missed out on setting a new career-high with 15 points.
UMass weathered one last Western Carolina push late as the Catamounts cut the lead down to six at 79-73 with 0:30 remaining after a pair of trips to the line for Matt Halvorsen before Anderson put the game away with a pair of free throws down the stretch. Halvorsen, the Catamounts' leading scorer on the season, put in a team-high 18 points for the visitors.
narrowly missed out on a double-double as he added 11 points and nine rebounds to go along with two blocks for the Minutemen.
The Minutemen will be back in action on Friday, Nov. 24 against Minnesota at LIU Brooklyn's Steinberg Wellness Center at 12 p.m. before taking on BYU on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the Barclays Center as part of the Barclays Center Classic.
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