UMass 81, New Mexico 65

Minutemen land in Charleston Classic final

Derrick Gordon celebrated a turnover during UMass’s 81-65 upset of New Mexico.
Mic Smith/Associated Press
Derrick Gordon celebrated a turnover during UMass’s 81-65 upset of New Mexico.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg waited for No. 19 New Mexico to wear out and had his Minutemen ready when the time came.

Chaz Williams scored 19 points and Raphiael Putney added 18 as UMass ran past the weary, 19th-ranked Lobos, 81-65, Friday to reach the Charleston Classic championship.

The Minutemen used a late 14-0 run to take control and improve to 5-0 for the second time in four years. Cady Lalanne had his third double-double of the season, finishing with 16 points and 14 rebounds.


Kellogg knew after the Lobos’ double-overtime, drama-filled victory over Alabama-Birmingham in the tournament opener Thursday that his semifinal opponents would likely not have the legs to withstand his team’s up-tempo pace late in the game.

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‘‘Their stamina was a little bit better than I anticipated or expected,’’ he said. ‘‘Both teams played really hard. But once that run came, we were going to take advantage of it.’’

Few push pace like Williams, a dynamic 5-foot-9-inch senior from Brooklyn who’s up the court in a flash and seeking teammates like Putney and Lalanne to finish. He was content Thursday to let others lead the way — UMass had five players score more than his 10 points in a 96-90 win over Nebraska — but took charge against New Mexico.

Not only did Williams strike for a team-high in points, he had five rebounds, five assists, and a steal. He also played effective defense on New Mexico’s high-scoring guard Kendall Williams, who was held to 13 points after going for 29 a day earlier.

‘‘Coach just emphasized playing defense and helping each other out,’’ Chaz Williams said. ‘‘That’s what we did.’’


UMass will go up against the winner of Saturday night’s Clemson-Davidson game for the tournament title Sunday night. New Mexico (3-1) will take on the loser for third place.

‘‘I thought we were prepared for the press, that’s on me,’’ New Mexico coach Craig Neal said.

Neal said his team is designed to handle and excel in high-tempo games. Doing that after going 50 hard minutes a day earlier was a factor, he said.

‘‘I think it might be a little bit of a problem playing two overtimes and have to turn around and play at 2:30. But that’s not an excuse,’’ he said.

Alex Kirk finished with a career-best 32 points for New Mexico and snagged 11 rebounds. The Lobos missed their final eight shots after tying the game at 61 with just under eight minutes left and managed just four foul shots down the stretch.