St. Bonaventure on deck for UMass
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/10/2012
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - It was a bad day for Philadelphia at the Atlantic 10 tournament Friday.
La Salle and Saint Joseph's joined Temple on the Atlantic City Expressway going east. Saint Louis beat La Salle 78-71, while St. Bonaventure edged the Hawks 71-68.
The Bonnies will play UMass, which upset Temple 77-71, in the semifinal Saturday at 1 p.m. Xavier will face Saint Louis in the other semifinal at 3:30 p.m. Xavier beat Dayton 70-69.
The Minutemen beat the Bonnies 76-67 on Feb. 8 at the Mullins Center.
“They're very tough defensively and Nicholson is the player of the year in our conference,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “But anyone you play in the final four in a league like ours is going to be a tough one. We'll try to get the game sped up a little bit and see what happens.”
The Bonnies held on against the Hawks in a game with 24 lead changes.
St. Joe's had a chance to pull the game out late. After Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and St. Bonaventure big man Andrew Nicholson airballed a fadeaway jumper on the baseline with a one-point lead, he made up for it by taking a charge against Langston Galloway at the other end with 24.1 seconds left. Charlon Kloof then hit just one of two free throws with 17.2 seconds left to make it 70-68.
Carl Jones tried to drive the baseline to tie the game but Nicholson blocked the shot and Bonnie Matthew Roberts got the rebound and was fouled with 0.6 seconds left. He made one of two free throws and the Hawks never got a last ditch heave off.
Nicholson had 25 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, while Kloof added 19 points.
St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said his team would have to play better Saturday than it did the last time it played UMass.
“We were up by three of four in the first half and in the second half they came out and played really well. We turned the ball over and their pressure hurt us,” Schmidt said. “We have to play much better tomorrow if we're going to have a chance against a long athletic team like UMass.”
STREAKS SNAPPED - The win over the Owls, who are ranked No. 21 in The Associated Press Top 25, ended UMass' seven game losing streak against ranked teams. The Minutemen were 0-2 this year, losing to No. 22 Florida State and then-No. 23 Temple.
The last UMass win over a ranked team came Dec. 13, 2009 when the Minutemen upset No. 25 Kansas at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Kan.
UMass had even less success in Atlantic City, where it had lost eight straight games - six in the Atlantic 10 tournament and two in the Legends Classic.
Temple was 26-2 all-time in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals entering the game.
MILESTONES - UMass point guard Chaz Williams' 10 assists gave him 207 in his career, the most ever by a sophomore in the Atlantic 10. He passed Rhode Island's Tyson Wheeler's 203 set in 1995-96. Williams' total is the fifth best ever by a UMass player. He needs five to match No. 4 Carl Smith and seven to catch No. 3 Chris Lowe. It was his fifth game of 10 assists or more this year.
See the UMassHoops.com Message Board thread for pre-game and post-game discussion.
Men's Hoop Rally Falls Short In 84-80 Loss To St. Bona
The Minutemen were eliminated from the Atlantic 10 Tournament after falling to the Bonnies in the semifinal round.
From UMass Athletics, 3/10/2012
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Despite a late surge for the Minutemen, UMass could not pull out the win over St. Bonaventure (19-11) and lost 84-80 in the Atlantic 10 Semifinals in Atlantic City, N.J. The loss eliminates them from the rest of the tournament and drops their record to 22-11.
Maxie Esho scored 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds and was a major performer in the first half where he had 14 points and 7 boards.
Terrell Vinson contributed 20 points in this matchup, including 17 points in the second half. Vinson scored the first nine points of the second half for the Minutemen.
The guards had solid performances, Jesse Morgan had 13 points and three assists and Chaz Williams shared the ball five times to go with his 12 points. Both were perfect from the free throw line (5-5 and 4-4, respectively).
In spite of a 14-point effort by Esho in the first half, UMass struggled to put together an offense and went into the locker room trailing St. Bonaventure 48-41. Solid defense kept the half close, ending with a 18-14 point run in favor of the Bonnies in the last six minutes, which increased their lead to seven.
The Minutemen made a late second half 26-14 run that nearly gave them the win, but a missed three point shot by Raphiael Putney with five seconds left in the game ended their efforts.
UMass trailed St. Bonaventure by 16 with 7:30 left in the game and had struggled to put together an offense until that point. A dunk by Sean Carter and a fastbreak three by Putney created the spark the Minutemen needed to make a comeback late in the second half.
Two made free-throws by Vinson brought UMass within ten with three minutes left in the game and a three pointer from Williams cut the deficit to six with 2:16 left, starting a 7-0 run and diminishing the lead to two points.
Free throw shots would bring the score to 81-80 with eighteen seconds to go, but the Minutemen would be unable to add to their score and three free throw shots for the Bonnies ended the game with an 84-80 decision.
Rally by UMass men's basketball falls short in Atlantic 10 semifinal loss
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/12/2012
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - When the shot left Raphiael Putney's hand Saturday, University of Massachusetts men's basketball coach Derek Kellogg thought it was going in. He was so confident that he imagined himself running onto the floor in celebration.
After falling behind by as many as 16 points in the second half, the Minutemen scrambled back and trailed St. Bonaventure by just two when Putney got the ball left of the top of the key with six seconds left in the Atlantic 10 tournament semifinal at Boardwalk Hall.
Rather than play for a tie and overtime, UMass went for the win with the 3-point try by Putney. The sophomore forward got a good look but his shot hit the back of the rim and Matt Wright snared the rebound for the Bonnies and was fouled with 1.8 seconds left. He made both free throws to end the Minutemen's hopes for an Atlantic 10 tournament championship and trip to the NCAA tournament with an 84-80 loss to St. Bonaventure.
“I thought it was going right in,” Kellogg said of Putney's shot. “I was envisioning running onto the floor. I'm still envisioning it going in.
”… I was happy with the way they continued to fight and claw,” Kellogg said of his team. “We were a small bounce away from winning the game.”
The fourth-seeded Bonnies (19-11) will face Xavier at 1 p.m. Sunday for the A-10 championship. The third-seeded Musketeers defeated Saint Louis 71-64 in the second semifinal Saturday.
UMass (22-11) will find out Sunday whether their postseason continues in either the National Invitation Tournament or the College Basketball Invitational. Both fields will be announced Sunday after the teams in the NCAA tournament are revealed.
“Hopefully our season isn't over and we can continue to play and learn from the last game,” said sophomore point guard Chaz Williams, who had 12 points on 3-for-11 shooting.
When Atlantic 10 player of the year Andrew Nicholson made two free throws with 6 minutes, 50 seconds remaining, St. Bonaventure appeared headed for an easy win. The Minutemen were struggling to shoot and the pressure that has flustered so many teams all season didn't seem to faze the Bonnies.
A dunk by Sean Carter started a 10-2 run gave UMass momentum, but the Bonnies managed to keep the Minutemen at arm's length until Putney keyed seven straight points for UMass to get within 77-75 with 1:38 left.
Demetrius Conger (22 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists) hit one of two free throws and after a missed 3-pointer by Terrell Vinson, hit two more to give St. Bonaventure an 80-75 lead with 1:11 left. Putney put back a miss by Williams with 57 seconds left to get the Minutemen within three.
After the teams traded a free throw apiece to make it 81-78 with 31 seconds left, Javorn Farrell tipped a Bonnies' inbound pass and Williams came away with it. He got the baseline shot up as he was fouled, but it went off the rim. Williams made both free throws and UMass trailed by one with 18 seconds left.
Carter quickly fouled Charlton Kloof who made just one of two from the line with 14 seconds left to put St. Bonaventure ahead 82-80, setting up Putney's game-winning attempt.
Vinson led UMass and scored 17 of his with 20 points in the second half after foul trouble slowed him in the first.
“I wanted to win,” he said. “I didn't want to go home. I felt like we should have beaten them in the first half. We were letting them bully us.”
Maxie Esho added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Minutemen.
The Bonnies did not turn the ball over once in the first half, shot 56.3 percent from the field (18-for-32) and continued to score even after Nicholson (19 points) went to the bench with two fouls.
Only Esho, who had 14 points and seven rebounds before intermission, kept UMass alive early as the Minutemen trailed 48-41 at halftime.
In both the regular-season game against St. Bonaventure and the upset of top-seeded Temple on Friday, the Minutemen were behind at halftime and opened the second half on a big run to take control. So when Vinson scored five straight points out of the break to quickly get his team within 48-46 on Saturday, UMass seemed to have momentum.
But the Minutemen could not keep it going as their shooting went cold. Williams, who was brilliant in the first two A-10 tournament games, could not get going either as the Bonnies took their big lead.
“I'm proud of the team,” Kellogg said. “In our 33 games, they've competed in just about every one of them and never quit until the end.
“Sometimes you go home earlier than you'd like.”
UMass men's basketball now hopes for bid to NIT
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/12/2012
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Saturday's 84-80 loss to St. Bonaventure ended the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team's chance of an NCAA tournament bid. The Minutemen will now hope for a berth in the 32-team National Invitation Tournament.
The College Basketball Invitational would almost certainly offer UMass a spot in its 16-team field, if the NIT doesn't pick the Minutemen. But their win over Temple in Friday's Atlantic 10 quarterfinals likely put them in pretty good shape to earn a spot in the NIT.
UMass coach Derek Kellogg campaigned a bit for an NIT bid after Saturday's semifinal loss.
“That's what we're hoping for. I think the kids deserve to play in another tournament,” Kellogg said. “I think our body of work is pretty good. We won some good games and play in one of the toughest conferences in the country. And we're a fun team to watch.”
Results in smaller conferences have limited the number of NIT bids available. The NIT, which is now run by the NCAA, offers automatic bids to any conference's regular-season champion which does not win its conference tournament and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Smaller conference tournaments have been littered with upsets which means as many as 11 automatic bids may already be taken.
That list could include Washington. A BCS conference's regular-season champion has never been left out of the NCAA tournament, But the Pacific-12 has been weak all season. The Huskies lost to Oregon State in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
GLASS IN THE NCAA - Former Minuteman Matt Glass will finish his college career in the NCAA Tournament. Now at Vermont, Glass had seven points to help lead the Catamounts past Stony Brook 51-43 on Saturday to win the America East tournament.
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at http://www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.
UMass suffers heartbreaking loss to Saint Bonaventure in Atlantic 10 semifinals (3/10/2012)
A loss to the Bonnies does not dull the meaning of UMass' basketball revival (3/10/2012)
UMass basketball team expects to get NIT bid (3/10/2012)
UMass can’t reach A-10 final (3/10/2012)
|Points in the paint||28|
|Points off turnovers||14|
|Second chance points||16|
|Fast break points||8|
|Points in the paint||38|
|Points off turnovers||9|
|Second chance points||12|
|Fast break points||8|
|Score by Periods||1st||2nd||OT1||OT2||OT3||Final|
|Officials||Wally Rutecki, Jeff Clark, Earl Walton|