GAME NOTES: The 22nd-ranked Massachusetts Minutemen head south to take part in the Orange Bowl Classic, as they square off with the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday afternoon at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.
Derek Kellogg's Minutemen are one of just a handful of unbeatens left in the country, running their start to the season to 10-0 following Wednesday's 83-71 road win at Ohio University. The 10-game win streak is the longest in 15 years for UMass and certainly the longest in the Kellogg era.
Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles aren't the feared team that they have been in recent memory, but Florida State is still a decent 7-3 on the season. The team enters this contest off back-to-back victories, including an offensive eruption last time out, routing Charlotte in Tallahassee, 106-62.
These teams have split six all-time meetings. The Seminoles have tied things up with wins in each of the last two meetings, coming in 2006 and 2011.
The Minutemen have been one of the most offensively proficient teams in the nation this year. The scoring pool is deep, as all five starters are averaging double figures for a squad that is averaging 83.9 ppg on just under 50 percent shooting overall. Point guard Chaz Williams is the straw that stirs the drink in Amherst. The veteran playmaker is tops on the team in both scoring (16.3 ppg) and assists (7.9 apg). Cady Lalanne is knocking down just over 60 percent of his shots and boasts of a near double-double average with 14.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Sampson Carter (13.2 ppg), Raphiael Putney (12.5 ppg) and Derrick Gordon (10.2 ppg) complete a potent quintet.
UMass overwhelmed another opponent with its scoring efficiency, connecting on 61.5 percent from the floor against Ohio in a 12-point win. Maxie Esho led the charge off the bench with a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double. Carter added 14 points to the cause, Williams had a double-double as well with 11 points and 11 assists, while Putney matched with 11 points of his own.
The Seminoles showed their offensive teeth in the win over Charlotte last time out, rolling up a season-high 106 points, on a strong .542 shooting performance. Six Seminoles finished in double figures in the onslaught, led by Aaron Thomas' electric performance off the bench, as he finished with 26 points in 22 minutes of work. Ian Miller also had a strong game, posting 18 points in the win. Okaro White and Montay Brandon added 14 points apiece, while Robert Gilchrist and Boris Bojanovsky chipped in 11 points each. White completed a double-double with a game-high 11 rebounds.
Although FSU's scoring output against the 49ers was a bit above the average, the team has performed well at that end of the court this season, averaging 79.7 ppg and shooting just over 50 percent from the floor overall. He hasn't started a single game this season, but Miller leads the team in scoring at 14.9 ppg. White is the team's top option in the frontcourt at 14.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Thomas (11.8 ppg) has also been invaluable with his play off the bench. Brandon (10.0 ppg) rounds out the top offensive threats on the roster.
The Minutemen have already beaten two ACC squads already this season (Boston College and Clemson) and will complete the trifecta here, albeit not easily.
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