Massachusetts Minutemen Display Stout D in 2nd Half to Secure Win

By Daniel Karpuc
Chaz Williams
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Massachusetts Minutemen overcame a 35-31 halftime deficit to defeat Eastern Michigan by the score of 69-57 on Tuesday night. With the win, the No. 21 Minutemen improve to 7-0 on the season.

Five Minutemen scored in double-figures in the game, including Raphiael Putney with 15, Trey Davis with 13, Cady LaLanne and Chaz Williams both with 12 and Derrick Gordon with 10. Putney had the best overall game, adding nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks to his 15 points. Williams added eight assists to his 12 points.

The real story, however, was the defensive teamwork displayed in the second half. Having given up 35 points in the first half, the team came out of the gate in the second half very committed to playing defense and held the Eagles to just 22 second-half points.

Moving forward, there are some concerns for the Minutemen. First, their lack of depth is an issue. Only two players, Maxie Esho and Davis played substantial minutes off the bench, with Esho playing 16 and Davis playing 24. While a reliance on starters is common in college basketball, it is important to establish a rotation for when certain situations arise later in the season, like injuries or foul trouble, for example.

Another concern for the Minutemen coming out of this game is their three-point shooting. In this contest, they shot 29.4 percent from three-point range going 5-for-17. On a squad with a lot of athleticism, attacking the lane and drawing fouls might be a better course of action rather than squaring up for the long-range shots.

This game, while a win, can be viewed as a hiccup, as UMass averages 83.7 points per game. Lets see how they respond against BYU on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Dan Karpuc is a college basketball writer for Follow him on Twitter @dan_karpuc, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google

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