Chaz Williams has the University of Massachusetts rolling, and even a tweaked ankle hasn’t slowed the Minutemen’s diminutive leader down.
Though the injury was serious enough that Williams got an MRI on his left ankle following a comeback win over St. Bonaventure on Jan. 11, after a few days’ rest the point guard checked out OK.
Not only did the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder play in the first two games of UMass’ three-game road swing through George Mason, Elon and Richmond, but he played well enough to earn Atlantic 10 player of the week honors.
Williams averaged 23 points and six assists in the week, scoring 26 points and dishing out eight assists in a nail-biting 88-87 win over George Mason and scoring 20 points and doling out four assists in an 84-74 win over Elon.
The wins pushed Derek Kellogg past the 100-career win mark at UMass (he’s at 101) and improved the Minutemen to 16-1 overall and 3-0 in the A-10. And on Monday, the Minutemen were rewarded with a move up three spots to No. 13 in the AP poll and No. 12 in the USA Today coaches’ poll, their highest rankings since the Final Four season of 1995-96.
With his performances at George Mason and Elon, Williams pushed his season averages to 16.3 PPG and 7.4 APG, the latter mark by far the best in the A-10 and third best in the country. With his 26-point output against the Patriots, Williams passed two notable names on the UMass career scoring list: Julius Erving and Marcus Camby.
Williams now has 1,414 points and sits 12th on the all-time list.
UMass will conclude its current road jaunt with a matchup at Richmond (12-6, 2-1 A-10) on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET on ESPN3).
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.