Men's Basketball Downs Rider, 73-63
Dec. 23, 2004
AMHERST, Mass. -- Behind a career-high 21 points by sophomore Art Bowers (Wilmington, Del.) as well as 20 points and 13 rebounds from sophomore Rashaun Freeman (Schenectady, N.Y.), the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team defeated Rider, 73-63, Thursday night at the Mullins Center. Bowers tallied 18 of his points in the second half as he went 5-for-11 from three-point range in the game.
The Minutemen have now won two games in a row and are 5-3 on the season. The loss drops Rider to 4-4. It was the first time since Jan. 29, 2002 that two Minutemen have scored 20 points. It also marked Freeman's 14th career double-double and seventh 20-point game.
Massachusetts enjoyed its largest lead of the season at 20 points, 49-29, at the 14:29 mark of the second half following a Bowers three-pointer. Rider then began to chip away and capitalized on a UMass scoring drought. The Minutemen went 5:15 without a field goal and the Broncs were able to make the game close. Rider outscored the Minutemen, 14-2, over a 4:55 stretch to make it a 58-52 game with 6:24 left. Bowers broke the streak with a basket at the 6:09 mark and following a missed Rider basket, freshman Lawrence Carrier (San Bernardino, Calif.) drained a three-pointer to give UMass a double-digit lead again. Massachusetts was 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final three minutes to seal the win.
The Minutemen used an aggressive defense in the first half to take a 37-22 lead at halftime. The 22 points by Rider marked the fewest points by a UMass opponent in any half this season. The Minutemen used a quick 6-0 run in a minute mid-way through the first half to take a 16-8 lead at the 12:21 mark. Four points in a row by freshman Jeff "Big Deli" Salovski (Bristol, Conn.) a few minutes later gave UMass its first double-digit lead, 24-13, at the 6:23 mark.
UMass had 12 points off 10 Rider turnovers in the first half. Freeman led the way for UMass with 12 points and six boards in the first stanza. Junior Jeff Viggiano (Suffield, Conn.) had six points and six boards in the first half, but left the game in the second half with a sprained ankle. The Minutemen also had a 24-14 advantage in the paint during the first stanza.
Massachusetts shot 44 percent (24-54) from the field while Rider was 39 percent (25-64). The Minutemen held a 43-32 edge on the glass and tied a season high with seven blocked shots.
Jerry Johnson led Rider with 15 points, while Jason Thompson had 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Massachusetts continues its six-game homestand on Tuesday, Dec. 28, by hosting Boston University at the Mullins Center. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. It will be the 2,000th game in program history. For tickets, please call the Athletic Ticket Office at 1-866-UMASS-TIX.