March 9, 2012 - UMass vs. Temple

  • Season: 2011-12
  • Date: Friday, March 9, 2012
  • Opponent: Temple
  • Start Time: 12:00 PM ET
  • Site: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City NJ
  • Special Event: Atlantic 10 Tournament Quarter-Final. Seeds: Temple 1, UMass 8.
  • Television: CBS Sports Network Regional (outlets: Comcast Sports Net New England, Comcast Sports Net Philadelphia, Comcast Sports Net Mid-Atlantic, Comcast Sports Southeast, Cox Rhode Island, Verizon (Long Island and New Jersey), Time Warner Rochester & Buffalo)
  • Streaming video: none

Previews

UMass Athletics

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Confident UMass men's basketball takes on Temple in A-10 quarterfinals
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/9/2012

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Nine days after narrowly losing to Temple in overtime and three days after an exciting win over Duquesne in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament, the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team arrived at Boardwalk Hall, confident in their ability to make a run.

They'll try to start that run today at noon when the No. 8-seeded Minutemen (21-10) take on top-seeded and No. 21-ranked Temple (24-6).

The Owls nipped UMass 90-88 in overtime on Feb. 29. UMass coach Derek Kellogg said that game eliminated the possibility of Temple overlooking his team.

“It gives them a heads-up that we can play with them, that we're a good team. We're not going to be able to sneak up on them,” Kellogg said. “I think our guys are comfortable with what the game plan is and what we need to do to play Temple. … We've been somewhat successful with the top five seeds (Temple, Saint Louis, Xavier, St. Bonaventure and Saint Joseph's). We've either beaten them or lost to them in overtime. We feel like we can compete with just about anybody on a given night.”

UMass sophomore Raphiael Putney wasn't shy about his optimism.

“I think we're very confident coming into this game. Last game we know what we did wrong. We made some mistakes in overtime. We learned from that and we've prepared,” he said. “We're happy that we're playing Temple again. We know we can beat them.”

Kellogg said the Minutemen would need to control tempo to prove Putney right.

“I thought the game plan the last time we played them was pretty good for us. I'm not sure if we can beat them in a half-court game,” Kellogg said. “We have to get up and down and I think at times it has to get a little chaotic out there. That's really what we're going to try to do.”

Beating anybody at Boardwalk Hall would be a step for UMass. This is the last season that the Atlantic 10 tournament will be played in Atlantic City before moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. UMass has been winless at Boardwalk Hall during the entire run of the event. Even before first round games were moved to campus sites, the Minutemen struggled to find good fortune at the East Coast casino mecca. They lost four games in the Atlantic 10 tournament and another two in the Legends Classic in 2010.

“It's been a not so pleasant place for UMass. But this is a different team. We've broken a lot of streaks and things that haven't been favorable for UMass this year,” Kellogg said. “I'm hoping we can do the same against Temple.”

The winner will face the winner of the game between No. 4 St. Bonaventure and No. 5 Saint Joseph's, Saturday at 1 p.m.

Temple has been fairly dominant in Atlantic 10 tournament quarterfinals play, going 26-2. The Owls have won the event seven times, including three in a row from 2008-2010.

NOTE - Friday's game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet New England.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.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.

Atlantic 10 plays last conference tournament in Atlantic City
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/9/2012

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Down on the boardwalk, they're getting ready for the Atlantic 10 tournament's final championship hand.

After six tournaments, the A-10 is set to cash in its postseason chips in Atlantic City, N.J. The conference home to NCAA tournament regulars like Temple and Xavier is playing its last conference tournament this weekend at Boardwalk Hall. Next year, it moves to the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Barclays is the state-of-the-art new home of the NBA's Nets. And the A-10 has a five-year deal that starts in 2013. The Nets will begin play there next season.

A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade said the tournament deserved a turn under the bright lights in the No. 1 media market in the world.

“The move and the location,” she said, “is really going to give us an opportunity to take this championship to another level.”

The A-10 hopes to grow in Brooklyn. Especially after failed attempts in so many other places.

The league's signature event had become a bit of a vagabond, in fact. Atlantic City, never really known as a hoops mecca, had finally given the tourney an identity, a place to call home, after it failed at the Spectrum and the Palestra, both in Philadelphia, and Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio and beyond. Atlantic City's proximity to Philadelphia made it an easy trip for Temple and Saint Joseph's fans (oh yeah, and La Salle, too), and those teams were often in title contention.

With Fordham just one state away, in New York, the A-10 seemed to have a decent niche in this sleepy, Jersey Shore casino town. But it just never panned out.

Though that never seemed to matter to Temple.

In fact, under coach Fran Dunphy, the Owls have seemingly headlined A.C. as much as Frank Sinatra once did. Temple has ruled the resort city like no other team, winning three Atlantic 10 tournaments from 2008-10. Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli has joked that the Owls are the true basis of the HBO show “Boardwalk Empire.”

The No. 21 Owls (24-6) are the No. 1 seed again, and open tournament play against Massachusetts (21-10) on Friday.

“We'll to go Brooklyn and see how that is,” Dunphy said. “It takes a while to create your brand at different places. I think Atlantic City was about ready to emerge.”

The Owls won't get too comfortable in Brooklyn. It indeed is a time of change in the A-10. The conference is finding a new postseason home and the Owls are bolting for the Big East after next season.

Temple's football program will join the Big East next season and all other sports will follow the next season. McGlade hoped the focus this weekend was on the tournament, won last season by Richmond, and not Temple's defection to escape.

“The teams that are coming in here, the attention deserves to be on them to win a championship,” she said. “We're really not here to talk about Temple going to the Big East.”

Win or lose this weekend, the Owls are locks to join the NCAA field of 68. The A-10 has earned three bids to the NCAA tournament and sent a team to the round of 16 for the last four years. But attendance at its conference tourney hasn't always matched the national success over the years of its 14 members.

Last season's final between Richmond and Dayton drew an announced crowd of 5,602 in a facility that holds 10,500. The Barclays Center seats about 18,000.

“I don't think this league,” Martelli said, “has ever been a travel league.”

That's why The Shore made so much sense. The A-10 had A.C. all to itself.

In New York, the tournament will be held just a cab ride away from the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. McGlade, of course, believed The Big Apple was big enough for both tournaments. She said media could cover the A-10 semifinals on Saturday afternoon, then make the quick trip to MSG for the Big East championship game that night.

Sunday would still belong to the Atlantic 10.

Will New York embrace the A-10 and teams like Dayton and St. Louis? Travel, hotels and expenses could soar through the rim, as opposed to very affordable rates in Atlantic City. The Press of Atlantic City, in fact, reports some of the 17,000 casino-hotel rooms in town can be had for as little as $19 per night in the waning weeks of winter and in early spring.

Good luck getting lunch for less than $20 in New York.

Also, the advent of sports gambling - though patrons wouldn't be able to bet on A-10 games in Atlantic City - also makes the town that Bruce Springsteen once sang about more of a sports-themed market.

Sports wagering in town still seems a ways off, but it's closer than ever. New Jersey passed and enacted a law legalizing sports betting, but the federal ban still must be overcome before Atlantic City casinos and the state's four horse tracks can start taking bets on professional and college sporting events.

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, signed New Jersey's sports betting law.

“Whatever allows us to be able to institute sports gambling in New Jersey in a way that's legal, I'm in favor of,” he said. “Whatever approach can get through Congress, fine by me.”

In the proposal, games held within the state would be off limits to bettors. But if they hit town to bet on the other March tournaments, chances are, they would have taken in an A-10 game or two in person.

Jeffrey Vasser is the president of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. He said the tournament will be missed.

“We're certainly going to look for other events to fill those dates, even if it's another conference tournament,” he said. “We were doing well. We were growing. People were recognizing A.C. as the home of the Atlantic 10.”

Well, all hope is not lost. It's not like the A-10 hasn't moved before. Perhaps a return trip isn't out of the possibility.

After all, Springsteen - in his 1982 song, “Atlantic City” - put it best.

“Everything dies, baby that's a fact. But, maybe everything that dies someday comes back.”

Springfield Republican

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Boston Globe

Philadelphia Inquirer

Game Thread

See the UMassHoops.com Message Board thread for pre-game and post-game discussion.

Recaps

UMass Athletics

Basketball Knocks Off Top-Seeded Temple To Advance To A-10 Semifinals, 77-71
Jesse Morgan, Chaz Williams each turn in 20-point games as Minutemen pull out the upset.
From UMass Athletics, 3/9/2012

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - A pair of command performances from Chaz Williams and Jesse Morgan led the UMass men's basketball team to a 77-71 upset of top-seeded No. 21 Temple on Tuesday afternoon in the opening game of the Atlantic 10 Quarterfinals at Boardwalk Hall. The win advances UMass (22-10) to the A-10 Semifinals against the winner of Saint Joseph's and St. Bonaventure. It also marks the Minutemen's first win in the A-10 Quarterfinals since defeating St. Bonaventure in 2001.

Williams scored 20 points in the game, while Morgan led all players with 21 points - 16 of which came in the second half. Just over 30 minutes from his hometown of Philadelphia, Morgan was 8-for-13 and hit three three-pointers as his play sparked much of UMass' offense in the second half.

Temple (24-7) had four players in double-figures with Khalif Wyatt scoring a team-high 15 points. Ramone Moore added 14 points.

After trailing by five at halftime, UMass jumped out of the gates to start the second half with a 15-0 run to take a 46-36 lead on a Sean Carter dunk just over four minutes into the period. Seven of Morgan's points came in the run as UMass hit four of its first five shots and forced three Temple turnovers in the stretch.

Just as quickly as UMass jumped out to the 10-point lead, Temple responded with the long ball. Moore hit back-to-back treys followed by a three pointer from Juan Fernandez as the Owls cut the lead to five, 55-50, with 12:12 to go.

An 11-2 run from that point for Temple gave the Owls a 61-57 lead thanks to another Fernandez three-pointer.

A driving lay-up and a three-pointer for Williams gave the Minutemen the lead again 62-61 with just under six minutes remaining. The Owls responded again to regain the lead on a traditional three-point play for Wyatt.

Morgan hit his third three-pointer of the day with 4:50 to go giving UMass a 65-64 lead. Terrell Vinson forced a turnover on the ensuing Temple possession. Javorn Farrell hit another three pointer to extend the Minutemen's lead to 68-64 just 18 seconds later and UMass never looked back.

The Minutemen hit 7-of-9 free throws in the final two minutes and the Owls went just 2-for-7 from the field. A Fernandez three-pointer with two seconds missed as Morgan pulled down the rebound to seal the win.

Temple took a 36-31 lead into halftime as the Minutemen struggled at points shooting from the field. UMass missed six straight field goals in a three-minute stretch midway through the stanza as Temple built an early 22-13 lead.

An Esho jumper with 8:11 to go snapped the cold shooting and the Minutemen fought their way back into the game. A Farrell lay-up with 2:22 left in the first half cut the lead to four, 32-28, but Temple kept the Minutemen from getting any closer.

UMass overcame its slow shooting first half with a 15-of-30 performance in the second half. The Minutemen also hit 6-of-7 three pointers after halftime.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

UMass men's basketball upsets Temple in Atlantic 10 tourney quarterfinals
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/10/2012

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - As University of Massachusetts men's basketball coach Derek Kellogg walked across the court to do his postgame radio interview Friday afternoon, he exhaled, smiled and pumped his fist as the small but loud group of Minuteman fans roared.

UMass withstood a late Temple rally and upset the top-seeded and No. 21 ranked Owls 77-71 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament at Boardwalk Hall.

The eighth-seeded Minutemen (22-10) will play St. Bonaventure at 1 p.m. Saturday in the semifinals. The Bonnies defeated Saint Joseph's 71-68 in the second quarterfinal Friday.

It was the first win for UMass in the tournament quarterfinals since 2001. Temple (24-7) is expected to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament when the 68-team field is announced Sunday.

“It feels great,” said UMass senior big man Sean Carter. “We put so much into this over these past few months. It's really paying off. We wanted to let people know we're a good basketball team and that we're here to compete in every game.”

The Minutemen, who trailed 36-31 at halftime, opened the second half by scoring 15 straight points to take a 10-point lead. UMass looked like it might have peaked too early as the Owls started to chip away and got hot from outside. They used an 11-2 run to regain the lead and momentum at 61-57 with 8 minutes, 4 second remaining.

Minuteman sophomore point guard Chaz Williams blamed himself for the overtime loss to Temple last week and said that motivated him Friday. His floating bank shot brought UMass within 61-59 and after a miss by the Owls at the other end, Williams hit a 3-pointer to put the Minutemen ahead 63-62 with 5:51 remaining.

“It felt real great for me. Last time at the end of the game, I made a lot of costly turnovers. This felt pretty good,” Williams said. “We're maturing as a group. A day at a time, we're just getting better.”

Khalif Wyatt answered with a three-point play for Temple, before Jesse Morgan, who led the Minutemen's run early in the half, knocked down one of his three 3-pointers.

Terrell Vinson stripped Ramone Moore to start another UMass break that Javorn Farrell finished with a 3-pointer that extended the lead to 68-64 with 4:10 remaining.

From there, the Minutemen controlled the game as they made six of seven free throws in the last two minutes to seal the win. UMass played the last four minutes without a timeout.

“I told the guys it's up to you now,” Kellogg said. “I feel confident with this team and enjoyed watching the game. I thought it was a great basketball game. … I thought our guys responded after Temple made their run ”

From the outset, the Minutemen exposed the Owls' ball-handling woes by turning 22 turnovers into 23 points. Williams forced four of those turnovers with four steals to go with his 20 points and 10 assists. Morgan led UMass with 21 points, including 16 in the second half.

Wyatt led Temple with 15 points before an injury sidelined him.

The victory ended the Minutemen's eight-game losing streak at Boardwalk Hall, and Kellogg hopes it starts a winning streak. “I'm hoping we can make some noise down here,” he said.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.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.

Chaz Williams better than advertised
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/10/2012

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - The guy sitting out is always an all-star.

Every player sitting as a transfer or academic nonqualifier always develops a legend during his year off for their showing in pickup games and practices. There were stories about the prowess of Tyrone Weeks, Lari Ketner, Monty Mack, Tiki Mayben and even Tyrell Lynch before they ever got eligible. Some panned out. Some washed out.

Chaz Williams, who sat out last year after transferring from Hofstra, was no different. With the University of Massachusetts struggling though the point guard struggles with Gary Correia, and for a while Daryl Traynham, the promise of Williams was hard to wait for.

The stories undersold Williams' potential. He's been better than advertised.

On the most basic level, Williams has allowed Derek Kellogg to install a run-and-press transition style the team has thrived in this year. UMass' athletic roster is perfectly designed to play that way, but without a point guard that can make good decisions at high speed, that athleticism would be wasted.

But it's more than that with Williams.

Despite being a newcomer and only a sophomore, Williams has been a leader from day one. In any huddle, he's talking, instructing and encouraging. He and coach Derek Kellogg have been in sync from the beginning. The team has taken on his personality. There's an optimism and positivity that stemmed from Williams' attitude and blossomed as the team has been successful.

“He's brought great poise to our team. He's a young guy, came in early in the season and he brought it. He had a couple of games (with) a few mistakes, but he learns quick. He's a smart player,” senior Sean Carter said. “He's mature on the court for his age. He drives us with his passion.”

Williams has backed up his attitude with his play. Williams is indisputably the best player on the roster and none of the returning players have resented that. His 16.5 points per game have almost single-handedly made up for the 18.7 ppg that graduated with Anthony Gurley and his 6.5 assists per game have made his teammates better.

In UMass' first meeting with Temple, Williams nearly had a triple-double with 26 points. 11 assists and eight rebounds. If he doesn't have the game he had, not only do the Minutemen not go to overtime, but they probably lose by at least 15 points. But after the game Williams pointed to a couple of late turnovers and said it was his fault the team lost. That approach not only helped motivate himself, but sent a message to his teammates: If the guy who nearly had a triple-double can get better, anyone one can.

In the rematch, Williams had just one turnover.

“I am impressed with him. He plays hard. Ten assists with one turnover is pretty impressive for all that time with the basketball,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “Obviously he's talented, fast, and hard to guard but a competitive instinct is what separates him. We are not the only team that has had difficulty guarding him, and we won't be the last.”

This season's success feels like the start of something larger and Williams is a cornerstone of that future's foundation. The Minutemen bring back everyone but Carter and will get Sampson Carter back from injury, while adding three freshmen. But more than that, Williams will get better. He could go into next year as the favorite to be Atlantic 10 Player of the Year with a team that can realistically set its sights on the NCAA tournament. But Williams wasn't looking that far ahead.

“We have another task at hand tomorrow,” Williams said. “We said. 'Don't get too big after this win. Let this carry us over.'”

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.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.

Springfield Republican

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Boston Globe

Boston Herald

Good time for UMass (3/10/2012)

Philadelphia Inquirer

Other Content

Box Score

TOTAL 3-PTS REBOUNDS
MASSACHUSETTS MinFGFGAPctFGFGAPctFTFTAPctOffDefTotPFFOATOBlkStlPts
Vinson, TerrellF33210.20014.25034.7503144002048
Putney, RaphiaelF2224.500111.00012.5001562003236
Carter, SeanC3938.37500004481022206
Williams, ChazG40512.417221.000810.800022201010420
Morgan, JesseG27813.61534.750221.00013420010121
Farrell, Javorn2335.600111.00002.0001011022027
Esho, Maxie836.500111.000002022002007
Riley, Freddie814.25003.000000001000002
TEAM REBOUNDS213
TOTALS2002762.435916.5631420.700141630150141341477
First half1232.37539.33348.500 31
Second half1530.50067.8571012.833 46
Points in the paint26
Points off turnovers23
Second chance points11
Fast break points19
TOTAL 3-PTS REBOUNDS
TEMPLE MinFGFGAPctFGFGAPctFTFTAPctOffDefTotPFFOATOBlkStlPts
Hollis-Jefferson, RahlirF37610.6000012.50024620341213
Eric, MichealF23310.3000012.50047113002107
Fernandez, JuanG38410.40048.5000013420640212
Moore, RamoneG36511.45535.60012.50014540460014
DiLeo, TJG1902.00002.000002021011010
Wyatt, Khalif2758.62502.000551.00002230430515
Lee, Anthony1524.50000441.0003143002308
Brown, Aaron512.50000000221000002
TEAM REBOUNDS213
TOTALS2002657.456717.4121215.800152439190182251071
First half1328.46425.400810.800 36
Second half1329.448512.41745.800 35
Points in the paint28
Points off turnovers15
Second chance points11
Fast break points2
Score by Periods1st2ndOT1OT2OT3Final
MASSACHUSETTS3146 77
TEMPLE3635 71
Attendancen/a
OfficialsEric Anderson, Brent Hampton, Kenneth Clark
Technical Foulsnone

Play by Play

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