UMass 74, No. 21 Rhode Island 57
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Ajmal Basit came off the bench to score 15 points and get a career-high 19 rebounds as Massachusetts overcame foul trouble and kept No. 21 Rhode Island skidding with a 74-57 win Thursday night.
The victory was UMass’ ninth in a row and 10th straight over the Rams, who lost for the third time in four games. The Minutemen (15-5, 7-0) remained the only unbeaten team in Atlantic 10 games despite being unranked all season.
Rhode Island (13-5, 5-2) had moved up one spot in the Top 25 despite losing to Cincinnati last Sunday. But the taller Minutemen dominated after the first seven minutes and handed the Rams their worst loss of the season.
UMass’ top two big men, Tyrone Weeks and Lari Ketner, each picked up his fourth foul in the first five minutes of the second half. The 6-foot-9 Basit filled in brilliantly in a team-high 34 minutes.
Monty Mack had 22 points for UMass, while Rhode Island was led by Cuttino Mobley and Antonio Reynolds-Dean with 12 points and Joshua King with 11.
UMass turned a 16-14 deficit into a 33-18 lead with a 19-2 run and led 43-29 at halftime as it hit 59 percent of its shots. Its lead ranged from 13 to 21 points the rest of the way as the Rams made only seven field goals in the second half.
Rhode Island took its last lead, 16-14, on King’s 3-pointer with 13:01 left in the first half. Jonathan DePina’s 15-footer tied the game and started the 19-2 run.
Basit put UMass ahead to stay, 18-16, by converting an offensive rebound. Baskets by DePina, Charlton Clarke, Basit and Chris Kirkland gave the Minutemen 12 consecutive points and a 26-16 lead with 9:07 left in the half.
Mobley’s layup stopped the run, but UMass got the next seven points. Mack’s three-point play, Mike Babul’s dunk off an alley-oop pass and Weeks’ 13-footer opened a 33-18 lead with 6:25 to go.
Ketner, second on the team in scoring and rebounding, had only four points and five rebounds before fouling out with the score 57-40 with 7:50 left in the game. Weeks, averaging double figures in points and rebounds, finished with eight points and five rebounds and fouled out with 1:52 to go.
Rhode Island has lost 18 of its last 19 games against Massachusetts, with its only win a 71-68 decision on Feb. 20, 1993.