Putney powers UMass past Eastern Michigan
YPSILANTI, Mich. — Raphiel Putney scored 15 points, including two high-flying dunks in the final minutes, and No. 21 Massachusetts won its first game as a ranked team since November 1998, a 69-57 victory over Eastern Michigan on Tuesday night.
Trey Davis scored 13 points while Cady Lalanne and Chaz Williams added 12 apiece. Lalanne grabbed 12 rebounds for the Minutemen (7-0).
Putney and Williams connected on an alley-oop pass that resulted in a three-point play with 6:14 left that gave UMass a 54-48 lead, its biggest of the game to that point. They connected again with 2:46 remaining when Putney’s one-handed slam gave the Minutemen a 62-55 lead.
UMass, which came in averaging 83.7 points per game, was slowed in stretches by the 2-3 zone defense employed by third-year Eastern Michigan coach Rob Murphy, a disciple of Jim Boeheim’s who spent seven years as an assistant at Syracuse.
The Minutemen were just 2 of 11 from 3-point range in the first half, which ended with Eastern Michigan leading 35-31. They made 3 of 6 in the second half.
Karrington Ward and Daylen Harrison had 11 points each for Eastern Michigan (5-2), which was hosting its first ranked opponent since Wisconsin visited in 1994.
UMass debuted in the poll at No. 24 after winning the Charleston Classic and moved up three spots this week despite having last week off.