– A quick start for Howard led the Bison to a 68-63 win over the UMass men's basketball team on Friday night at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen bridged a 17-to-0 run between the halves to pull within two, but could not overcome Howard's 50-percent shooting effort in the first half.
posted his second career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds while coming close to a triple-double with eight assists. Jonathan Laurent
also reached double figures for UMass (2-2) with 16 points. Carl Pierre
and Sy Chatman
each scored nine points.
The Bison (4-0) had four players in double figures led by 19 points from Charles Williams and 17 points from R.J. Cole. Akuwovo Ogheneyole had a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 14 points, while Chad Lott had 12 points.
Howard started the game on a hot streak hitting 5-of-7 from the field to jump out to an 11-2 lead within the first 3:12 of play. The Bison lead grew to 39-20 with 3:49 to go as Howard shot 14-of-28 (50%) for the first half.
UMass closed the opening stanza with six straight points to narrow the gap to 39-26 at the intermission.
That momentum carried into the second half as the Minutemen scored 11 straight to cut Howard's lead to 39-37 with 17:26 to go. Seven of those points came from Laurent, while Pierre added a three pointer as well to draw the Mullins Center crowd back to life.
The Bison then used a 12-to-2 run to re-establish a double-figure lead before a Pipkins lay-up halted the momentum. UMass then used a nine-point spurt to pull within six, 56-50, with 5:12 remaining.
The teams traded baskets before Howard hit four straight free throws to regain a 62-52 lead. The Minutemen strung together another short burst with a dunk from Rashaan Holloway
, a triple from Pierre and a lay-up from Curtis Cobb
cut the deficit to three with 2:03 to go.
Howard continued to keep separation but a Laurent dunk with 59 seconds left kept it a one-possession game, 66-63.
UMass had a pair of chances at three-pointers with under 16 seconds to go, but Howard was able to haul in the defensive rebound and convert two free throws after being fouled to stop the clock. Cobb had one final look as time expired for a three-pointer but it too was off as the horn sounded.
The Minutemen will return to action on Monday, Nov. 19 for its second game of the Las Vegas Holiday Invitational when UMass hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff at the Mullins Center (7 PM).
For complete coverage of the UMass basketball team, follow the Minutemen on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @UMassBasketball and online at www.UMassAthletics.com