March 6, 2015

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UMass beats Duquesne in overtime

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team finally did something they have wanted to do all season: win from behind on the road.

The Minutemen (9-15, 3-7 Atlantic 10) won their second conference game on the road this season in overtime, defeating Duquesne, 84-80 Thursday night.

UMass played from behind at halftime, erasing a 16-point deficit to come back outscore the Dukes, 44-41, in the second half.

Down 54-34 early in the second half, the Minutemen went on a 15-3 run with four 3-pointers, two from senior guard Ricky Harris, one by Anthony Gurley and another by freshman forward Terrell Vinson.

Redshirt sophomore center Sean Carter paced the Minutemen with 11 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, including a put-back dunk in the final seconds of overtime to cap the victory. Senior guard Ricky Harris had another impressive outing, adding 29 points on 10-of-22 shooting from the field and going 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.

Redshirt junior guard Anthony Gurley had 20 points off the bench, while the Minutemen shot 46 percent from 3-point range and 77 percent from the line.

Junior forward Damian Saunders finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, as the A-10 rebounding leader turned the ball over three times against UMass.

The Dukes did not shot the ball particularly well, going 27-of-69 from the field and 8-of-24 from beyond the arc.

The Minutemen continued to dominate opponents on the glass, 60-33, but still struggled to hold onto the ball with 22 turnovers.

The 60 boards were the most secured by a UMass team since the 1996 Final Four team.
Saunders missed two field goals with under a minute left in regulation, as the Minutemen secured the rebound and brought the ball down the court.

Gurley launched a 3-pointer and missed, but UMass recovered and got two chances to end the game, but missed.

Harris hit two free-throws to give the Minutemen their first lead in overtime with under two minutes to play.

Along with Gurley, UMass had 29 bench points, while the Dukes had just 9. Freshman forward Sampson Carter had seven, and junior guard Gary Correia added a field goal.

This is the second overtime game the Minutemen have played this season, and their first victory of 2010. UMass fell to Richmond, 70-63, back on Jan. 13, for their first conference loss on the road.

The Minutemen snapped a three-game losing streak with the victory over the Dukes, after losing to Charlotte, Xavier and Rhode Island.

UMass takes on Saint Joseph’s at home on Sunday at the Mullins Center. It the Hawks, 87-80 back, on Jan. 27 for their first A-10 victory on the road, after they were in the midst of a five-game losing streak.

Harris and Vinson combined for 39 points in the victory, as the Minutemen used another key run in the second half to come away with the victory.

The Hawks are coming off a 56-52 loss to Saint Louis on Wednesday, and are currently tied with UMass at 3-7 in the A-10 record.

David Brinch can be reached at dbrinch@student.umass.edu.

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