AMHERST, Mass. - La Salle's Pookie Powell scored a career-high 30 points, but Massachusetts guard Luwane Pipkins did him one better, setting a Mullins Center record with 44 points as UMass topped the Explorers, 86-79, in overtime on Wednesday night.
La Salle (7-10 overall, 1-3 Atlantic Ten) was again without B.J. Johnson (ankle), the conference's leading scorer, but built a 17-7 lead with 12 minutes 5 seconds remaining in the opening half.
Senior Tony Washington helped put together the big lead, scoring eight points over the first 9:21.
Powell, a redshirt junior, made 12 of 23 shots.
UMass (9-8, 2-2) cut the La Salle advantage to 21-18, before a 12-2 spurt bumped the lead back to 33-20 at the 3:36 mark.
Massachusetts slowly began to mount a comeback, with Carl Pierre and Pipkins leading the way. Pierre scored seven straight points to cap a 15-2 run that brought the Minutemen back to within eight at 50-42.
La Salle led by 60-50 after a tip-in bucket from Powell, but Pipkins began to heat up shortly thereafter. The sophomore guard scored 18 of his team's next 22 points, including 11 of UMass' 13 unanswered points that gave the Minutemen a 72-66 lead.
Johnson, who leads the A-10 in scoring at 21.2 points per game, had missed three straight games before returning to the lineup on Jan. 6 against VCU. He is considered day-to-day.