Behind 21 points and 10 assists from sophomore guard Luwane Pipkins, UMass defeated Western Carolina, 85-76, on Tuesday evening.
It was a lot closer than the Minutemen probably would have liked it, but they got the job done.
UMass, which trailed by as much as six in the first half, captured a 31-30 advantage off a Chris Baldwin 3-pointer.
The Minutemen built their lead to 12 points with 55 ticks remaining in the opening frame, before the Catamounts’ Chris Peterson tallied five points – all of which came on free throws – in the final 26 seconds to make it a 42-35 game at the break.
UMass’ lead shrunk to one on two separate occasions in the second half, but key buckets by Baldwin and Rayshawn Miller helped the Minutemen hang on.
The Minutemen, despite behind outshot 47.9 to 45.8 percent, connected on 11 treys to Western Carolina’s six in the win.
Also having solid perfomances for UMass were Carl Pierre (15 points), Baldwin (12 points, four rebounds) and Malik Hines (11 points, 9 rebounds).
Next up for UMass is a date with No. 14 Minnesota (5-0) on Thursday at 12 p.m.