The UMass Minutemen took center stage at the Mullins Center for the first half and had their moments of looking like a marquee act. When all was said in done for the first half the Minutemen led, 38-26, and headed to the locker room with four players scoring at least six points.
Derrick Gordon, in his first action for the Minutemen, was impressive on both ends of the court. He flew around making plays, finishing at the rim several times on the way to a team-high nine points. He was active, grabbing an offensive rebound and dishing out two assists in addition to his scoring. Playing alongside Chaz Williams and Trey Davis had positive returns for Derek Kellogg and will likely be a major lineup for the Minutemen in 2013-14.
Sampson Carter had his moments as well, playing good aggressive basketball on his way to eight points and a trip to the free-throw line. Cady Lalanne is just plain strong and used that to his advantage, scoring nearly at will on the inside. Maxie Esho had two highlight dunks, however, and his alley-oop from Gordon was the prettiest thing that happened in the first half.
The lowlight of the half, on the other hand, was Raphiael Putney picking up three fouls and spent most of the period on the bench. Not a good look in his first look of the season.
The freshmen made one appearance in the person of Demetrius Dyson, but it lasted just one minute.
On the whole, not a bad half. Things clearly need to get better moving forward, but for a final tune-up a 12-point lead at the half is par for the course.
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