Freddie Riley scored 18 points and Massachusetts pulled away after halftime to secure its best Atlantic 10 start in four years with a 73-54 victory over cold-shooting Charlotte on Wednesday night.
Anthony Gurley added 17 points and Javorn Farrell had 11 for the Minutemen (11-6, 3-1), who snapped Charlotte's six-game home winning streak with stifling defense.
Derrio Green had 12 points on 2-of-10 shooting and Chris Braswell had 11 points and seven rebounds for the 49ers (9-9, 1-3), who were done in by long scoring droughts in each half.
Charlotte went more than 7½ minutes without scoring in the first half as UMass built a 35-27 lead. Then the 49ers went more than 7 minutes without a field goal after halftime to thwart a comeback bid.
Riley's 3-pointer with 5:42 left made it 59-45 and put it away for UMass, which last was 3-1 in conference play in 2006-07.