Chaz Williams and Cady Lalanne are perhaps the two most talented players for the UMass Minutemen and the pair combined to score 47 points as they pulled out a 86-73 win over Boston College. With Williams and Lalanne as the catalysts, the Minutemen outscored the Eagles 54-37 in the second half and scored a huge non-conference win in their season opener.
On the whole, the second half was an entirely different Minutemen team than the first half. They ran the floor well, cut down on turnovers, locked down the Eagles' star players, and had several different players step up to carry them for stretches of the second half.
Sampson Carter scored seven of his 12 points in a 1:11 stretch that cut a nine-point Eagle lead to just two. Then, Chaz Williams scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half while connecting on several heat-check shots that helped UMass take the lead, and then extend it to 12 at 65-53 with 8:57 left to play. Steve Donahue perhaps said it best after the game when he stated that UMass "smelled blood, and took advantage of it."
Donahue was talking, specifically, about Lalanne when he said that. The Minutemen center was a man possessed for much of the game and his eight offensive rebounds were indicative of that. Led by Lalanne, UMass out-rebounded BC 44-27 and held a 30-11 advantage in second chance points. If anyone needs a recipe for how to beat Boston College this year, they need only look at the tape of this second half.
Derek Kellogg deserves some of that credit as well, as a key tactical change he made helped turn the game around. After not showcasing a three-guard lineup at all in the first half, UMass came out in the second half with guard-dominated lineups for most of the last 12 minutes of the game. Williams, Trey Davis and Derrick Gordon shared the court for 5:52 of the second half, outscoring BC 30-15 while also cutting turnovers down from nine in the first half to just five in the second.
"I caught myself trying to do too much a couple plays and threw a few turnovers," Williams said. "I see Sampson and Cady telling me to slow down so I realized that and everything just fell into place from there."
"During that stretch we had another ball handler and those guys did a nice job of taking advantage of Boston College icing side pick and rolls," Kellogg said. "I'm the kind of coach that tells them what they're doing and 'you're a good basketball player and go figure it out,' and I thought those guys did a good job of using [what they were doing] against them, and that left Cady open to clean up the boards."
The cream tends to rise to the top over time and when things sped up and started to get real in the second half, it was the cream of the Minutemen's crop that brought them to to finish line.
Other things of note
- Ryan Anderson was solid for Boston College, which was good because Olivier Hanlan was a no-show for most of the game. Anderson finished with a team-high 22 and Hanlan came up with 19, most of them coming from the free throw line after the game was out of reach.
- Raphiael Putney was a non-factor for UMass, spending much of the game in foul trouble before sitting down for the remainder early in the second half. This has become a disturbing trend over the last year and even though the Minutemen survived today, that might not be the case as the season goes on.
- Maxie Esho helped lessen the blow of Putney's foul trouble and has made the team more athletic on both ends of the floor. He had a dunk that brought the house down and his all-over-the-court effort helped the Minutemen press much more effectively.