NCAA BK

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 - 2:00 PM ET
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UMass-Florida St. Preview

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Unbeaten Massachusetts continues to roll behind star point guard Chaz Williams.

Coach Derek Kellogg's team is far from a one-man show, though.

The No. 22 Minutemen try to stay perfect Saturday when they face Florida State in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, Fla.

Enjoying its best start since opening 26-0 in 1995-96, Massachusetts (10-0) has dominated in the early going with Williams leading the way. The 5-foot-9 senior leads the team with 16.3 points per game and is averaging 7.9 assists to rank second in the country.

"I'm fortunate to have one of the best point guards in college basketball on my team," Kellogg said. "He's not worrying about scoring, he's really worrying about how good he can be for our team and the reality of it is that he controls the game when he's on his game."

Williams, though, is hardly doing it alone. Four other players are averaging in double digits, including Cady Lalanne with 14.4 and Sampson Carter with 13.2.

"We're getting a lot of contributions from a lot of different players," Kellogg said.

Williams had 11 points and 11 assists in Wednesday's 83-71 win at Ohio. Reserve forward Maxie Esho also came up big with season highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds and Carter scored 14 as the Minutemen shot 61.5 percent, their most efficient effort since November 2006.

UMass is averaging 83.9 points while shooting 49.3 percent.

"They seem pretty grounded and level-headed (through this winning streak)," Kellogg said. "If you have an older team, they can do a good job of paying attention to scouting reports more so than when you have younger guys, and I think that's been a good advantage for us."

The Minutemen could be in for a stiff test against Florida State (7-3), which has played well in three matchups against ranked foes this season. After beating then-No. 10 VCU 85-67 on Nov. 21, the Seminoles suffered an 82-80 overtime loss to then-No. 14 Michigan the following day and a 67-66 defeat at then-No. 15 Florida on Nov. 29.

Florida State is seeking a third consecutive win after cruising to a 106-62 rout of Charlotte on Tuesday. Sophomore Aaron Thomas put up a career-high 26 points off the bench as the Seminoles outplayed the 49ers in almost every facet of the game.

Florida State, which shot 54.2 percent and held a 45-33 edge on the glass, committed a season-low nine turnovers and forced 19.

"I don't think the score is an indication that we are that many more points better than them, I just think our guys played exceptionally well," coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We shot the ball exceptionally well. We made extra passes. We took care of the ball. Our rebounding effort was good. I think that this team (Charlotte) brought the best out of us."

Ian Miller, leading the team with 14.9 points per game despite coming off the bench, had 18 while Okaro White and Montay Brandon added 14 apiece.

Florida State improved to 7-1 when Thomas scores at least seven points.

Despite beating the Rams last month, the Seminoles are 1-7 against Top 25 opponents since the start of last season.

Florida State has taken the last two matchups from UMass, 73-53 in 2011 and 73-63 in 2006.

Tagged: Florida State, Florida, Massachusetts, Chaz Williams

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