Springfield, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Chaz Williams scored a career-high 32 points on 9-of-14 shooting to lead the 21st-ranked Massachusetts Minutemen to a 105-96 victory over BYU in the Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase.
Williams, one of six UMass players in double-figure scoring, also registered a personal-best 15 assists for the Minutemen (8-0), who are off to their best start since opening 26-0 in 1995-96.
Sampson Carter also set a career high with 20 points, Raphiael Putney supplied 15 and Maxie Esho totaled 12 to go with six rebounds and two blocks.
Tyler Haws led the Cougars (7-3) with 25 points, while Matt Carlino contributed 23 points and six assists.
"We just had a hard time controlling their penetration and that was a huge part of what we had to do," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "We got in foul trouble early and it made us soft and they took advantage of it."
Down 52-41 at the break, BYU managed to trimmed the deficit to three at 54-51 early in the second half. An Esho dunk then ignited a 17-5 surge and a Derrick Gordon layup made it 71-56 with 12:40 remaining.
The Cougars were able to close the gap to single digits at 71-63 prior to the 10-minute mark, but Williams nailed a trey to push the advantage back to 15 at 82-67 with seven minutes to play. Another Williams three made it 90-73.
The next time UMass' lead dipped below 10, the game was in its waning moments.
Down five points early, UMass rallied with an 11-0 run. Williams hit a 3- pointer to give the Minutemen their first double-digit lead at 38-28 with 5:56 remaining in the first half.
UMass led 52-41 at halftime.
The Minutemen have won eight games in a row for the first time since a 10-game run from Jan. 3-Feb. 1, 1998 ... Williams connected on 5-of-7 from beyond the arc ... Trey Davis had 11 points and six assists for UMass, while Gordon finished with 10 points and matched Davis' assist total ... Eric Mika had 18 points and eight rebounds for BYU ... UMass outshot the Cougars 55.6 percent to 48.5.