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February 1, 2012 - UMass vs. Rhode Island


UMass Athletics

Daily Hampshire Gazette

UMass, Rhode Island men's basketball teams riding momentum
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 2/1/2012

AMHERST - Both the University of Massachusetts and Rhode Island will be trying to build off the momentum of their best wins of the season when they meet tonight at 7 p.m. at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I.

After Saint Louis' loss to UMass Saturday, Billiken coach Rick Majerus described his team's struggles as “playing in the afterglow” of its big win over Xavier. Minuteman coach Derek Kellogg will try to have his team avoid playing in its own afterglow against the Rams.

“I have to get their mind-set back to where it needs to be which is one game at a time,” Kellogg said. “One day at a time and who's the next challenge ahead of us. In this league we could beat anybody, but we could lose to anybody. You have to come prepared and ready to play.”

Senior center Sean Carter said the Minutemen (16-5, 5-2 Atlantic 10) have put Saturday's win behind them.

“We're just trying to get better every game. There's no reason for us to look ahead right now,” he said. “We're trying to build on it. We're not going to get comfortable. There's a lot more games between now and March.”

Sophomore Jesse Morgan agreed.

“It's all about moving forward. We're trying to get better each game and make a good year out of this,” Morgan said. “The coaches and the leaders of this team do a good job staying level headed and making sure we respect each opponent.”

It's a little easier to respect Rhode Island (4-18, 1-6 A-10) now than it would have been a week ago. The Rams were 3-18, a losing season all but clinched, but on Saturday URI announced itself as a team that at least has spoiler potential when it upset Dayton at UD Arena, 86-81.

Wins over the Flyers in Ohio are hard to come by even when Dayton is down. But the Flyers are competing for an NCAA tournament bid.

The win was a culmination of recent progress for the Rams. After losing 70-53 to Richmond in its league opener, URI has steadily been more competitive, losing four of its next five games by single digits, including an overtime loss to St. Bonaventure last Wednesday.

But jumping from nearly beating the Bonnies at home to winning at one of the conference's toughest gyms was a big stretch.

“They played very good at Dayton. It's a road game in our league which makes it a tough contest,” Kellogg said. “Not only have they played teams close, but they've finally cracked that barrier against a team like Dayton. We know how hard it is to play there.”

Rhody coach Jim Baron was pleased to see his team break through.

“It was unbelievable how we bounced back. We knew we've been close. It's just a matter of continuing to work together and come together. Our guys did a great job of executing the game plan,” Baron said. “We did a good job of making shots, taking good shots and rebounding the basketball. I'm happy for the players.”

Baron expected Wednesday to be a challenge.

“We're playing against a very good UMass team that's playing with a lot of confidence,” he said. “They're very athletic and very good.”

Carter said the Minutemen would have respected the Rams even if they hadn't upset Dayton.

“They're going to play hard every time they're out there. We're going to respect that. Everybody should,” he said.

The Minutemen enter the game as the Atlantic 10's leader in points per game at 76.7, while the Rams allow the most at 75.5 per game, a figure impacted by their league-worst defensive field goal percentage of .485.

The midseason addition of sophomore guard Billy Baron has helped. The coach's son leads his team in scoring at 14.1 points per game and has helped replace the production of Jamal Wilson, who was dismissed from the team after 11 games.

URI's biggest strength is rebounding. Freshman Jonathan Holton, a 6-foot-9 forward, is a leading contender for conference rookie of the year. He's second in the conference at 8.2 rebounds per game to go with his 10.9 points.

Senior Orion Outerbridge (11.3 ppg) is sixth in the A-10 at 6.9 rebounds per game.

The game features two teams with the most turnovers in the league as UMass has the most with 333, eight more than URI's 325.

Matt Vautour can be reached at Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at

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Game Thread

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UMass Athletics

Men's Basketball Drops 81-78 OT Heartbreaker At Rhode Island
Raphiael Putney scores 18 points in loss.
From UMass Athletics, 2/1/2012

KINGSTON, R.I. - Paced by Orion Outerbridge's 29 points and 11 rebounds, Rhode Island used clutch free throw shooting in overtime to escape with an 81-78 win over the UMass basketball team on Wendesday evening at the Ryan Center. With the game knotted at 69-69 after regulation, the Rams opened the overtime frame hitting a pair of field goals and closed it going 8-for-10 from the charity stripe.

UMass (16-6, 5-3 A-10) will return to action on Saturday at George Washington with a 7 PM tip-off. Rhode Island improves to 5-18 overall and 2-5 in the Atlantic 10.

After the Rams went up 76-71 in overtime before Freddie Riley drained a deep three pointer to pull UMass within three with 2:11 to play. Putney made it a one-point game, 77-76, with a driving lay-up with 32.3 seconds to go.

The Minutemen again pulled within a point following a pair of free throws from Chaz Williams (12 points, 8 assists) with 10.9 seconds to play. UMass forced a steal on the ensuing inbounds play thanks to a Putney interception at mid-court, but Williams lost the ball in traffic while driving to the basket.

Rhode Island got two more free throws from Nikola Malesvic with 4.3 seconds to go up 81-78 forcing UMass to go the length of the court for the final shot. A Riley three-pointer from the left wing was just wide as the buzzer sounded.

Along with Putney, Sean Carter led UMass with 16 points. Putney narrowly missed his second-straight double-double with eight rebounds.

Malesevic scored 16 points, while Dominique McKoy scored 10 points along with seven rebounds.

UMass led by as many as six in the first half, 11-5, but the Rams fought back to tie the game on four different occasions. Rhode Island used a five-point run in the final 25 seconds of the first half to go into halftime with a 36-32 lead thanks to a Powell three-pointer and a T.J. Buchanan lay-up which he hit just as the buzzer expired.

Putney and Morgan paced the Minutemen with eight each in the first half, but it was Outerbridge who led all players with 15 points the bulk of which came in the opening 10 minutes of play to keep the game neck-and-neck.

URI started the second half strong building a 44-37 lead in the first three minutes, 28 seconds capped by a Billy Baron three-pointer from the right corner. After a UMass time-out, UMass chipped back by attacking the basket.

A pair of free throws followed by a fast break dunk from Carter off a turnover pushed the Minutemen up by three, 49-46, with 12:16 left in the second half.

Maxie Esho closed the 14-2 run with a lay-in with 11:33 to go up 51-46.

Rhode Island fought back over the next nine minutes until finally taking the lead 63-62 with 2:45 left on a Buchanan three pointer from the left wing.

After Carter hit the one of two free throws to tie the game once again, the Rams came back down the court where Malesevic drained another three-pointer from the right-wing to go up 66-63 with 2:16 to play.

A goaltending call on a Williams lay-up gave UMass a short-lived lead as Outerbridge came back to hit a jumper from the free throw line to tie the game once again, 69-69.

UMass had possession without the shot clock, called timeout with 9.1 seconds to go, but a Morgan three-pointer from the right wing was off as time expired forcing the overtime.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Rhode Island delivers deflating overtime loss to UMass men's basketball
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 2/2/2012

KINGSTON, R.I. - The overwhelming optimism about the potential for the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team after Saturday's win over Saint Louis took a sizable dent Wednesday night.

Last-place Rhode Island, which stunned Dayton Saturday, added the Minutemen to its victim list by delivering an 81-78 upset in overtime Wednesday at the Ryan Center.

UMass trailed for most of the extra session, but improbably had a late chance at a winning basket. After Chaz Williams made both free throws to bring UMass within 79-78 with 10.9 seconds left, Raphiael Putney intercepted Nikola Malesevic's errant inbounds pass for the Rams. Putney fed Williams, who drove into traffic.

Williams and UMass coach Derek Kellogg both thought the point guard had been fouled as the ball skipped out of his hands, but there was no call and Rhode Island snared the ball.

“I was looking for contact,” Williams said. “I thought there would be a foul called but it didn't go that way.”

The Minutemen were forced to foul and Malesevic (19 points) made both free throws. After Freddie Riley missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer, the Ram fans rushed the court.

“The call wasn't made and that was pretty much the ball game,” Kellogg said. “We got a nice steal and he drove it in the paint. On a certain day that might be a foul and on a certain day it's not. It's one of those things.”

After his press conference, a TV in the media room was showing highlights of the game. Kellogg paused to watch the replay of Williams' drive to the basket to see if there was a foul. He didn't say a word, but shook his head in frustration as he walked out of the room.

“That was a huge loss,” said Williams, who had 12 points, eight assists, five steals and nine turnovers. “We just came off a huge win. We didn't play UMass basketball.”

The Minutemen (16-6, 5-3 Atlantic 10) had a chance to win at the end of regulation. Terrell Vinson made two free throws to tie the game at 67 with 1:09 left. Williams stole the ball from Orion Outerbridge and raced toward the other end. His layup was goaltended to put UMass ahead 69-67, but Outerbridge answered with 29.7 seconds left.

The Minutemen held for the last shot after a timeout with nine seconds left. Williams tried to drive but was cut off so he kicked the ball to Jesse Morgan in the corner. Morgan's 3-point attempt was off the mark, sending UMass to overtime for the first time this season.

Outerbridge led Rhode Island (5-18, 2-6 A-10) with 29 points and 11 rebounds.

Putney had 18 points, eight rebounds, six steals and three blocks for UMass, which plays at George Washington at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Minutemen, who had shot free throws so effectively against Saint Louis, missed some big ones against the Rams and finished 15-for-25. Rhode Island outrebounded UMass 48 to 35 and turned 19 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points.

“We didn't make some plays today,” Kellogg said. “We'd play good defense, but our second stab at the defense after their offensive rebounds wasn't quite so hot. Any time a team has 19 offensive rebounds, that's a hard game for you to win.”

Outerbridge's 15 first-half points and a huge rebounding edge kept the Rams in the game early as the Minutemen looked poised to pull away. But after a Riley 3-pointer stretched the UMass lead to 28-22 with 5:36 left, Rhode Island went on a 14-4 run that included the last five points of the half, to take a 36-32 lead at intermission.

The Minutemen used a 14-2 run early in the second half to take a lead they held for most of the rest of regulation, but the Rams chipped away to set up the final sequence.

Fouls by Minutemen troubling for Derek Kellogg
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 2/2/2012

KINGSTON, R.I. -Just 21 seconds into overtime Wednesday, University of Massachusetts junior forward Terrell Vinson lowered his shoulder and was called for a charge. It was his fifth foul and Rhode Island went on to win 81-78.

While the whistle cost the Minutemen one of their best crunch-time players, it was indicative of a larger problem as UMass has been committing an unusual number of offensive infractions and fouls far away from its defensive basket. Vinson had two charges and a reach-in on the offensive end. He hasn't been the only Minuteman making these mistakes.

“That is concerning. It's a four- or five-point swing,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “Not only do you lose a chance at two points, but they can come down and score a two or three at the other end. Quite a few games this year we've had six or seven of them in a game, which is kind of unheard of. We'll have to watch the tape and teach our guys not to use their off arm or be so aggressive.”

ATLANTIC 10 STANDINGS - The loss dropped UMass (16-6, 5-3 A-10) from a first-place tie in the conference to a three-way tie for fourth place with Saint Louis and St. Bonaventure. La Salle is alone in first at 6-2, followed by Temple (5-2) and Xavier (6-3).

CONTAINING BARON, HOLTON - UMass held Rams leading scorer Billy Baron to just nine points. Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year candidate Jonathan Holton had just one point and four rebounds, well below both of his averages of 10.9 ppg and 8.2 rpg. But Orion Outerbridge's 29 points and 11 rebounds were both career highs.

WARDROBE MALFUNCTION - Freddie Riley's No. 4 jersey was accidentally left behind forcing the junior to wear No. 14. He finished with eight points.

NEXT UP - UMass will play at George Washington at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Colonials (9-14, 3-5 Atlantic 10) fell at home to Xavier 59-58 Wednesday.

Matt Vautour can be reached at Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at

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Box Score

Vinson, TerrellF2416.16713.33348.5001125122007
Putney, RaphiaelF39814.57124.50001.00017830213618
Carter, SeanC39551.00000610.60004420022216
Williams, ChazG38411.36403.000441.00004440890512
Morgan, JesseG3748.50024.50012.50001120230211
Farrell, Javorn1302.00001.000000113001010
Esho, Maxie1835.60000002352001106
Riley, Freddie1739.33327.286000222001008
TEAM358 0
First half1230.400411.36448.500 32
Second half1324.54228.250914.643 37
Overtime36.50013.33323.667 9
Points in the paint49
Points off turnovers25
Second chance points6
Fast break points27
Outerbridge, OrionF411117.64724.50059.556561110023129
Malesevic, NikolaF41520.25028.250710.70041530451319
Holton, JonathanF2404.00001.00012.5001344003211
Powell, MikeG28312.25027.286000441055008
Baron, BillyG3538.37514.250221.0001343012029
McKoy, Dominique2157.714000034710220110
Shengelia, Levan501.00000001231001000
Buchanan, TJ2924.500111.000001232000015
TEAM347 1
First half1436.389312.25057.714 36
Second half1333.394513.38526.333 33
Overtime24.50000810.800 12
Points in the paint33
Points off turnovers19
Second chance points18
Fast break points13
Score by Periods1st2ndOT1OT2OT3Final
OfficialsJeff Clark, Bill McCarthy, Matt Obias
Technical Foulsnone

Play by Play

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