UMass men's basketball needs crucial victory at Temple for tournament bye
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 2/29/2012
PHILADELPHIA - It might be the last men's basketball game between the University of Massachusetts and Temple as Atlantic 10 rivals, but there are more pressing things at stake for the Minutemen when they face the Owls at 7 tonight at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
For UMass to have a chance at a first-round bye in next week's Atlantic 10 tournament, the Minutemen need to win tonight to have a shot at finishing in the top four of the conference. With two games left UMass (19-9) is 8-6 in the A-10.
Temple (22-6, 11-3) is in first place and has already clinched a bye. Saint Louis is second at 10-5 and either St. Bonaventure (9-5) or Saint Joseph's (9-6), who play each other tonight in Olean, N.Y., are guaranteed to finish with 10 wins. If St. Bonaventure loses, it could still get to 10 wins Saturday at La Salle, while Xavier (9-6) hosts Charlotte on Saturday. Dayton (8-6) could reach 10 as well with two wins. So to have a shot at a bye, UMass more than likely has to get to 10 victories.
If the Minutemen win either of their last two games, the worst they can finish is eighth guaranteeing them a home game Tuesday in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament.
Getting that win tonight won't be easy. The Owls, who are ranked No. 23 in The Associated Press Top 25 and No. 25 in the coaches poll, figure to be motivated after Saturday's loss at Saint Joseph's. They will also have the added incentive of senior day as they try to send Ramone Moore, Juan Fernandez, Michael Eric and walk-on Jake Godino out on a high note in their final home game. Moore leads the Owls at 18 points per game.
On top of all that, UMass will be trying to overcome its dubious recent history in Philadelphia. The Minutemen have lost their last six games in the city, including both this year. Leap Day may come just once every four years, but there have been two of them since the last time UMass won at Temple, a nine-game streak that stretches back to 2001.
UMass coach Derek Kellogg was more focused on getting his team back to playing at a high level after Saturday's 76-43 blowout loss at Dayton.
“I was disappointed in the last four minutes where it goes from a respectable game where we just didn't play great to them winning by 30 which doesn't represent how our team has played this year and the character of the guys on the team,” Kellogg said. “We've been resilient throughout the season and we've battled for the most part and played pretty good basketball.”
Junior Terrell Vinson expected a better performance.
“We took a step back Saturday. We were a little unprepared to play against Dayton. I feel like we'll be prepared against Temple,” Vinson said.
Matt Vautour can be reached at email@example.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at http://www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.
Minutemen travel to No. 23 Temple (2/28/2012)
Morgan looks to snap out of shooting slump in Philadelphia (2/28/2012)
See the UMassHoops.com Message Board thread for pre-game and post-game discussion.
UMass Drops Instant Classic To #23 Temple, 90-88 In OT
Minutemen fall into tie for sixth place in A-10 standings.
From UMass Athletics, 2/29/2012
PHILADELPHIA - The Massachusetts men's basketball team erased a 10-point deficit with just over two minutes left in regulation to force overtime before eventually falling to No. 23/25 Temple 90-88 in a game reminiscent of some of the classic UMass-Temple battles of the past.
Chaz Williams turned in a brilliant performance for UMass (19-10, 8-7 Atlantic 10) as he finished with 26 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and four steals. Raphiael Putney and Terrell Vinson both had 16 before fouling out of the contest.
With one game remaining, UMass is tied for sixth with La Salle and Dayton - both of whom have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Minutemen.
Temple (23-6, 12-3) clinched a tie for the league's regular-season title and was led by Khalif Wyatt who scored 26 points, including the winning layup in the final seconds of overtime.
The Owls made a living at the free throw line, making 30-of-40 compared to 6-of-10 for the Minutemen. UMass shot 45 percent and used a 12-of-24 effort from outside to keep the pressure on all game.
But the long-range jumpers were never more important then the final minutes of regulation when UMass trailed 77-67 with 2:01 to play. That's when Williams made a trey from the top of the key, stole an inbounds pass for a layup and Freddie Riley drained a fadeaway in the corner to cut the margin to 77-75 in the span of 50 seconds.
Following a pair of Temple free throws, Riley made another three in the opposite corner to make it a one-point game with 50.4 left. The Owls split a pir of free throw before Putney made a putback with 26 tics left that ties the game at 80 and force the extra session.
The Minutemen scored the first six points of overtime for their largest lead of the night but couldn't hold it as the Owls made five freebies and tied it at 88 with a 3-point play by Wyatt. After a pair of missed bucket from Williams and Maxie Esho, Wyatt scored the game winner with 16.1 on the clock.
Jesse Morgan was off on a baseline runner and Esho couldn't connect on the tip before the Owls grabbed the rebound to end the contest.
The game was tied eight times and had 11 lead changes. UMass held a slim 44-38 edge in the paint while Temple finished with a 48-45 lead on the boards.
UMass will return home to conclude the regular season when it plays host to Rhode Island on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off at the Mullins Center for the annual Leaman Legacy game is set for 4 p.m.
Temple overcomes six-point overtime deficit to beat UMass men's basketball
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/1/2012
PHILADELPHIA — If this was the last game between the University of Massachusetts and Temple as Atlantic 10 foes, the Minutemen and Owls delivered a last game worthy of the rivalry.
In a game that featured late comebacks for both teams, No. 23-ranked Temple erased UMass' six-point lead in overtime to escape with a 90-88 win at the Liacouras Center on Wednesday.
“That was an epic battle. It reminded me of the games back in the 1990s with both teams throwing shots,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “Nobody quit or gave up. Two very good teams fighting tooth and nail, trying to win a basketball game.”
The win clinched the No. 1 seed in next week's Atlantic 10 tournament for Temple (23-6, 12-3 A-10). UMass (19-10, 8-7) will host Rhode Island, at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Minutemen's playoff seed is still undetermined.
UMass led 86-83 after Raphiael Putney hit two free throws with 1 minute, 12 seconds left in overtime. But Temple hustled the ball up the floor and Khalif Wyatt hit a hanging leaner as Putney fouled him. He completed the three-point play with 58.9 seconds left to tie the game at 88-88.
Chaz Williams then missed at the other end for UMass. Maxie Esho grabbed the offensive rebound but was blocked by Michael Eric. As Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson grabbed the defensive rebound, Wyatt took off toward the other end. Hollis-Jefferson completed the touchdown pass to Wyatt, who laid the ball in uncontested to make it 90-88 with 16.4 seconds left.
Jesse Morgan missed a jumper from the left side and Esho's attempt at a putback hit the back of the rim. Hollis-Jefferson grabbed the rebound with 0.7 seconds left and Sean Carter fouled him. He missed both free throws and Esho's desperation heave was late and off the mark as Temple held on.
A tip-in by Eric with 2 minutes left in regulation seemed to seal a win for the Owls, who led 77-67, but Williams sprinted up the court and buried a 3-pointer. Ramone Moore then missed and Williams was off to the races again, this time floating a layup off the glass with 1:16 left to make it 77-72.
After a Juan Fernandez turnover, Freddie Riley buried a 3 and then another after two free throws by Wyatt to cut Temple's lead to 79-78 with 51 seconds left.
Esho fouled Wyatt, who made one free throw with 33 seconds left to give Temple a two-point lead. Williams missed a layup at the other end, but Putney put it back in to tie the game with 25 seconds left. Putney blocked Moore's baseline try with two seconds left to force overtime.
“The kids believed. They kept coming back in the huddle saying we can win this one,” Kellogg said. “If they believe I think anything is possible.”
Williams had 26 points, 11 assists (five turnovers) and eight rebounds for the Minutemen, but he put the loss on his own shoulders.
“I take 100 percent credit for this loss. My turnovers and my mistakes down the stretch were costly and that cost us the game,” Williams said. “It weighs a lot on me. Being a point guard and the leader of the team, coach expects me to make better plays. I feel like I let my team down.”
Kellogg was far more complimentary of his point guard.
“Chaz was great. At different points in the game, he really carried us and kind of dominated the game,” Kellogg said. “A few times he got sped up a bit and tried to do a little bit too much. But he was fantastic and for us to compete with a team like Temple he has to play that way.”
Putney (eight rebounds) and Terrell Vinson each had 16 points for UMass, while Morgan added 15. Wyatt had 26 for Temple, while Eric added 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Vinson carried the Minutemen early, scoring 10 of their first 14 points. But he picked up his second foul with 11:55 left in the half. Eleven seconds later Putney picked up his second and Kellogg put rarely used senior big man Matt Hill into the game.
Temple scored the next six points to make it 20-14.
Kellogg has seen his team falter with those two players on the bench in foul trouble. He elected to gamble and put Vinson and eventually Putney back in the game.
The move paid off. The Minutemen went on an 11-2 run to take a 25-22 lead. The teams traded blows for the rest of the half before a three-point play by Williams with 2.8 seconds left gave UMass a 37-32 halftime edge.
“I thought that was a great college basketball game. My hat goes off to Temple, the way they closed it out in overtime,” Kellogg said. “Hopefully that was a learning lesson for our young guys on how to win a game in overtime.”
UMass seeks home game in Atlantic 10 tournament
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/1/2012
PHILADELPHIA - The University of Massachusetts' 90-88 overtime loss to Temple Wednesday coupled with other results around the Atlantic 10 means the Minutemen can no longer earn a bye in the first round of next week's conference tournament unless they finish in a three-way tie with Xavier and Saint Joseph's.
Otherwise, they will play Tuesday in the first round. If the Minutemen (19-10, 8-7) beat Rhode Island at home Saturday or Duquesne loses to Saint Louis, UMass will clinch a home game in the opening round.
Temple (12-3), Saint Louis (11-4) and St. Bonaventure (10-5) earned first-round byes. Xavier (9-6) will get the fourth bye if it beats Charlotte (5-10).
UMass is now tied for sixth with Dayton and La Salle. Both the Flyers and Explorers hold tie-breakers over the Minutemen if they finish tied. Dayton hosts George Washington, while La Salle hosts St. Bonaventure.
If UMass loses to URI and Duquesne (7-9) beats SLU, the Minutemen could finish as the No. 9 seed.
FARRELL SITS - For the first time in his three-year career, junior Javorn Farrell didn't play despite being healthy. UMass coach Derek Kellogg said the move was not disciplinary.
“I just didn't want to play him because of the flow of the game and the way things were going,” Kellogg said. “I just felt comfortable playing the guys I was playing. I didn't want to mess up the rotation.”
Farrell had been averaging 20.4 minutes per game.
PHILLY FOLLIES - The loss was UMass' seventh straight in Philadelphia and its 10th straight defeat at the Liacouras Center.
Philadelphia native Jesse Morgan continues to play well in his home town. He's averaging 18.3 points per game in three games within city limits.
UMASS ON FEB. 29 - The Minutemen fell to 1-6 all time on leap day. They beat Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1908 and haven't won since.
MILESTONES - Chaz Williams' 11 assists gave him 184 this season, the seventh-best single-season total in school history. Next up is Chris Lowe, who had 191 in 2008-09.
MISCELLANEOUS - UMass is 0-2 this season against ranked teams. The other loss was to No. 22 Florida State in the Bahamas.
UMass drops OT heartbreaker at No. 23 Temple (3/1/2012)
Temple eludes UMass (3/1/2012)
Narrow escape for Temple (3/1/2012)
Temple survives UMass in overtime, 90-88 (3/1/2012)
|Points in the paint||44|
|Points off turnovers||18|
|Second chance points||9|
|Fast break points||15|
|Points in the paint||38|
|Points off turnovers||19|
|Second chance points||7|
|Fast break points||4|
|Score by Periods||1st||2nd||OT1||OT2||OT3||Final|
|Officials||Brian O'Connell, John Gaffney, Todd Williams|
|Technical Fouls||UMass (2): Morgan, Team. Temple (0).|