Senior point guard Chaz Williams led his No. 23 Massachusetts Minutemen to a 73-65 victory over the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks on Saturday night, scoring 18 points to go with eight assists. On the season, the star ball-handler is averaging 15.3 points and 7.7 assists per game. Against the Redhawks, he shot 6-of-10, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc.
Cady Lalanne had 12 points and six rebounds, but the other starters didn’t put up great numbers. Maxie Esho had 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 21 minutes on the bench, and Trey Davis had 11 points off the bench in 27 minutes. With seven players able to score in double-digits on a nightly basis, the Minutemen are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
On the game, the Minutemen shot 25-of-49 (51 percent) and 7-of-16 from three (43.8 percent). In other words, they were very efficient. On the season, they average 80.3 points per game, 41.6 rebounds per game and 16 assists per game, all of which rank in the top 40 of all NCAA teams.
On Wednesday, the Minutemen take on the Saint Joseph’s Hawks, who are carrying a 9-4 record into Atlantic 10 play. Saint Joe’s has been a staple of the NCAA Tournament, dating back to the days of Jameer Nelson and Delonte West, and should be the main challenger to the Minutemen in the A-10. My guess is that Williams will lead UMass to a victory at home and make a statement that Minutemen basketball is back.