Hot start lifts UMass in 30-point win over Boston University Wednesday

By Andrew Cyr

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Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

It was evident right from the opening tipoff Wednesday that the Massachusetts men’s basketball team had benefited from its week-long hiatus between games.

In fact, senior Trey Davis had let coach Derek Kellogg know that he and the rest of the Minutemen could benefit from some added rest following their trip to Las Vegas.

“As much practice time, film time or walkthrough time that we can get with this group is beneficial. I was exhausted, honestly, as I think the players were, flying back from Vegas and going right into the Thanksgiving holiday,” Kellogg said.

“It was nice to take Thursday totally off, then practice Friday and not go hard on Saturday. Actually, I planned to go hard and one of senior captains sent me a text to back off a little bit on (Saturday’s practice). So I didn’t see them later that day. We’re starting to get a good rapport on the team as far as how hard to push them and how much to pull back at times.”

Davis, along with his UMass (5-1) teammates backed up their request for added rest as it defeated Boston University 99-69 in front of 3,818 at Mullins Center Wednesday night.

The Minutemen’s 99 points marked a new season high.

“Yeah, I’m that senior captain. And yeah, I had to back it up,” Davis said with a grin.

Davis, along with Donte Clark, each scored a team-high 20 points with five total UMass players scoring in double-digits. Rashaan Holloway (18) and C.J. Anderson (12) each scored career highs while Jabarie Hinds added another 18 of his own.

The Minutemen got off to a hot start and led by as many as 29 points before taking a 54-26 lead heading into halftime. Six minutes, 25 seconds into the final frame they opened the floodgates resulting in a 19-3 run sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers by Anderson.

“I feel like it was pretty good for me to actually get a chance to score and be aggressive for myself. But I just do whatever the team needs me to do to get the win,” Anderson said.

Anderson, who’s not known much for his scoring ability, agreed that his role is one that changes from night-to-night depending on the matchup.

“I would say it does. Tonight it was me coming out and knocking down shots and being aggressive. Other nights I’m getting assists and other nights I’m getting rebounds or playing defense. Whatever it is, I’m ready,” Anderson said.

“I thought C.J.’s two 3s in the first half were big baskets. The first one was wide open because they were helping on the inside. Then on the second one he raised up and made it,” Kellogg said. “I thought they gave him some good confidence to go make some plays that we’re expecting he can make on a regular basis.”

The Terriers (3-4) did not hold the lead for any portion of the game. Justin Alston led BU with 13 points while Nathan Dieudonne and Cedric Hankerson each added 10 of their own.

“That’s a good BU team. I watched them play and they were 3-3 coming in with all very tough games. I think we were fortunate to play well on a home night. I also think (Kyle) Foreman getting injured in the Binghamton game hurts them a little bit because he was a good guard that could control pace and tempo. That was an unfortunate bounce for them,” Kellogg said.

The Minutemen’s largest lead of the night was 37 with 2:07 remaining when Holloway hit a cutting Seth Berger with a no-look bounce pass for a layup. Walk-on Zach Turcotte was the lone player who didn’t score in his five minutes of action.

“We just wanted to get back to the right track,” Davis said on bouncing back from the Creighton loss. “We’ve got a good game Saturday against Ole Miss, so we wanted to get things flowing and get ready for that.

Andrew Cyr can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.