UMass Junior Raphiael Putney’s Block Party Has New Members After Win Over La Salle

Geoff Burke – US Presswire

Raphiael Putney blocked Jerrell Wright in the waning seconds of Wednesday night’s game and the UMass Minutemen staved off a late comeback by the La Salle Explorers to preserve a 61-60 victory.

Putney also led all scorers with 17 points but for a 6-foot-9 post player who doesn’t rebound with a whole lot of consistency, Putney is a serious pest to other bigs in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

In six conference games, Putney averaged 9.5 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2.3 assists. He also has a 3-point shot in his arsenal that he doesn’t often use but Putney hit three treys against the Explorers.

La Salle focused on shutting down guards Chaz Williams and Freddie Riley, who combined for just 13 points, including the Minutemen’s only other 3-pointer, made by Riley.

With Williams and Riley held in check and Putney doing his thing, the UMass offense was wide open and all but one of the seven Minutemen that played registered points. Maxie Esho was the only other UMass player to score in double figures, finishing with 11 points, while Cady Lalanne finished with 9 points,

10 rebounds (six offensive). Esho’s effort on the glass was a big part of UMass having a 15-8 edge in second-chance points. Reserves Lalanne and Esho also outscored the Explorers’ bench 20-7.

Just as La Salle did to Williams, UMass focused on shutting down point guard Ramon Galloway, holding him to just three points before halftime. Galloway was far from finished, though, as he went off for another 13 points in the second half.  Wright also finished with 16 and Tyreek Duren finished with 10.

UMass next takes the court Saturday on the road in a 2 p.m. game against the Charlotte 49ers, while the Explorers next face the George Washington Colonials in a 2 p.m. Saturday road game.

Mike Gillmeister can be reached at mgillmei@gmail.com, or on Twitter:@mgillmei. Like his Facebook page here for updates on Big 12/A-1o men’s basketball.

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