Freeman, Life Lift UMass Past Dayton, 66-47
Feb. 25, 2006
AMHERST, Mass. - Junior Rashaun Freeman (Schenectady, N.Y.) posted a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds and junior James Life (Fort Myers, Fla.) tied his career-high of 25 points to lead UMass past Dayton 66-47 on the newly dedicated Jack Leaman Court in the Mullins Center on Saturday. At halftime, UMass held a ceremony dedicating the court to former coaching legend and Hall of Famer Jack Leaman. The Minutemen responded by overcoming a three-point deficit at intermission going on a 19-to-6 run to start the second half and pull away for the win.
UMass (12-13, 7-7 Atlantic 10) pulled back to .500 in conference play, while Dayton fell to 13-15 overall, 5-9 in the Atlantic 10 losing its fourth consecutive road game.
Life shot 9-for-19 from the floor canning five three-pointers. He finished the day with five rebounds, five assists and no turnovers.
As a team, UMass turned the ball over just nine times total in the contest - improving the Minutemen to 6-0 on the season when they commit fewer than 13 turnovers in a game. Along with protecting the ball today, Umass was able to use its defense offensively outscoring Dayton 15-to-3 in points off turnovers.
The inside game worked well for the Minutemen as junior Stephane Lasme (Libreville, Gabon) added nine points and senior Jeff Viggiano (Suffield, Conn.) scored eight. Lasme passed Harper Williams for second-place all-time in blocked shots for UMass as he picked up four today. For his career, he has 224 swats - 101 of those coming this season. He is now just the fourth player in UMass history to block over 100 shots in one season.
Warren Williams scored 13 to lead the Flyers as the only Dayton player to reach double-figures on the afternoon.
Both teams played evenly in the first half with Dayton holding the slight advantage at the break with a 29-26 lead. The Minutemen came out firing, though, in the second half going on a 19-to-6 run to start the second half. UMass held Dayton to just 7-of-25 shooting (28 percent) in the period, while the Minutemen were able to connect on 15-of-28 (53.6 percent) from the floor.
After leading 52-42 following an acrobatic, reverse lay-up from Viggiano with 8:09 to play, UMass began to pull away going on an 11-to-0 run sparked by four points from Life and six points from Freeman. Life found Freeman for a fast-break dunk to culminate the run giving the Minutemen their largest lead, 21, of the day, 63-42.
Freshman Chris Lowe (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) the Atlantic 10's leader in assists had eight today while committing just two turnovers. Along with his nine from the Charlotte game on Wednesday night, Lowe has posted 17 assists in two games.
UMass returns to action on Wednesday, March 1 when the Minutemen head to Richmond for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off. UMass returns home on Saturday, March 4 for its final regular season game and will face Xavier at 4:00 p.m.
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