Cady Lalanne scored 16 points to lead No. 22 Massachusetts to an 80-54 victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday.
Chaz Williams, coming off career highs of 32 points and 15 assists against Brigham Young on Dec. 7, had 12 points and six assists for the Minutemen (9-0), who are off to the program's best start since the 1995-96 team started 26-0.
Raphiael Putney added 13 points — including three 3-pointers in an early 11-0 run — and Maxie Esho had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Minutemen.
Darrell Bowie led the Huskies (3-5) with 10 points.
The Minutemen led by 12 points at halftime and were never in jeopardy despite some lackluster play. The lead grew to 27 points as coach Derek Kellogg cleared his bench early.
One of the reserves, freshman Clyde Santee, scored the first 13 points of his college career — all in a span of 5:34.
The 54 points were the fewest allowed by UMass in a game this season.
The Minutemen gave up the first two points of the game but then scored 11 straight — including the three 3s in four attempts by Putney.
The lead quickly grew to 14 as Northern Illinois had just five points in the first 8 minutes of the game. But the Huskies came to life and cut the lead to nine with 4:18 left in the half. The Minutemen built their lead back up to 14.
After a four-point play by Daveon Balls with 1:15 left in the half, Williams hit his only basket of the half, with 50.3 seconds left, and UMass led by 12 at halftime.
It took UMass 6:28 of the second half to get its first field goal, but the Minutemen were just 0 for 2 from the field before Trey Davis hit a 3-pointer and they had already been to the free throw line 10 times.
A fancy passing play that ended in an alley-oop pass for a dunk by Esho put UMass up by 17, but Esho was hit with a technical foul for slapping the backboard.
The game was the second of four the Minutemen have to play each season as part of the agreement that brought the UMass football team into the Mid-American Conference. UMass is in the Atlantic 10 in basketball.