Well, that was much harder than it needed to be. The UMass Minutemen pulled away from AIC in the middle part of the second half to take an 89-76 victory in their last preseason tuneup before heading to Boston for their season opener with Boston College.
Sampson Carter led the ways with 20 points and seven rebounds while Cady Lalanne (16 points, 8 rebounds) and Derrick Gordon (15 points, 6 assists) also had solid outings at the Mullins Center. Chaz Williams controlled play when the starters were all in the game, finishing with seven points, five rebounds and five assists. Williams and Raphiael Putney spent much of the second half in foul trouble, however, limiting the starting unit's minutes together.
UMass led by as many as 15 at 80-65 with 2:25 to play. But after Derek Kellog emptied the bench, the freshmen + Tyler Bergantino let the lead slip. After a brief stint with the starters, the freshmen returned and closed out the game. Demetrius Dyson finished with six points, while Clydee Santee and Seth Berger each had two.
Trey Davis broke an 0-for-14 start from three-point land with a three with 7:47 to play. Dyson and Carter added threes of their own and UMass finished a dreadful 3-for-19 from distance. On the other side, AIC made 12-of-34 from the arc and had more open shots than makes. The three-point defense needs to be better on Saturday or BC is going to make them hurt.
But that is a concern for another day. For now, UMass can take solace in a win that was secure enough that the reserves had a chance to give it away. That's a preseason win if I've ever seen one.