Updated: Saturday, 20 Nov 2010, 10:28 PM EST
Published : Saturday, 20 Nov 2010, 10:28 PM EST
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Behind a huge first-half effort that saw the Minutemen shoot over 65 percent from the field, UMass (3-0) cruised to a 71-57 victory over New Mexico State (2-2) on Saturday night in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-off at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. Anthony Gurley led the Minuteman attack with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while Javorn Farrell had a career high 15 points and Terrell Vinson also finished in double-figures with ten.
The 3-0 start is UMass' first since the 2001-02 season, when the Minutemen also got their third win of the season at what is now called the MassMutual Center, 62-58 over Oregon.
The Minutemen led by as many as 23 early in the second half after putting up 44 points in the first 20 minutes, their highest first-half output since Dec. 5 of last year against Holy Cross.
For the game, UMass shot 54 percent from the field to NMSU's 33 percent. Each team registered 32 rebounds, with Vinson grabbing six and Sean and Sampson Carter coming down with five a piece.
Troy Gillenwater led New Mexico State with 13 points.
The Aggies cut into UMass' 21-point halftime lead early in the second stanza when they rattled off nine-straight points in a 2:26 span that ended at the 15:59 mark with the UMass lead at 14, 48-34, but Farrell, in his first action of the season after a preseason ankle injury, scored six points in a 9-1 UMass spurt to get the lead back 20, 57-37 with 11 minutes to go.
UMass shot an impressive 65.4 percent (17-of-26) from the field in the first half, led by Gurley's 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while New Mexico State shot 30.4 percent (7-of-23). The Aggies turned the ball over 11 times in the opening 20 minutes to six turnovers by the Minutemen.
After UMass raced to a 22-point lead in the first half behind hot shooting and an active defense, NMSU made a small run, 7-0 between the 5:13 and 4:05 marks to cut its deficit to 15, but the Minutemen recovered to extend the lead back to 21, 44-23 at halftime.
The Minutemen jumped on the Aggies early, running out to 13-2 lead as they held NMSU without a field goal for the first 6:30 of the game. UMass continued to pour it on over much of the opening half, outscoring the Aggies, 23-7 between the 15:20 and 6:32 marks to take a 31-11 lead.
The Minutemen return to action on Monday when they continue play in the Hall of Fame Tip-off by taking on Texas Christian University on Monday at the MassMutual Center in an 8 p.m. tip.