April 21, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s lacrosse falls to Hofstra on Senior Night, 11-6 -

Saturday, April 19, 2014

VIDEO: UMass United Rally in support of Derrick Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Friday, April 18, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass grabs 1st win over Xavier in almost 6 years on Tuesday night

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

A big win over a consistently strong opponent can rejuvenate a team, especially if that team – like the Massachusetts men’s basketball team – is in the midst of a losing streak.

And last night at the Mullins Center, the Minutemen might have earned that big win.

Coming off of its first losing streak of the season at two games, UMass (19-8, 8-5 Atlantic 10) reeled off an 80-73 victory over the Musketeers on Tuesday night at the Mullins Center to hop right back into the thick of the A-10 race for a first round bye in the conference tournament. The Minutemen currently sit in third place in the A-10 with the top four teams earning a pass to Atlantic City, N.J., for the second round.

The Minutemen capitalized on yet another opportunity to rise to the challenge against a very formidable and nationally recognized program in Xavier; their first win over the Musketeers since 2006.

UMass coach Derek Kellogg felt the win was another step in the right direction for the team and the type of program he’s hoping to build.

“I thought tonight was one more opportunity for the program to play well, have a signature team come in and have a nice fan base,” he said. “And that’s kind of what I’ve envisioned since I came here was a night like this.”

Chaz Williams had one his best nights in a Minutemen uniform with his game-high 29 points, lighting it up from downtown at a tune of 6-for-8 and going a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe. The sophomore also dished out a game-high nine assists in his 38 minutes on the floor.

On the other side, Xavier point guard Tu Holloway couldn’t establish any sort of rhythm offensively against the relentless combination of Jesse Morgan and Freddie Riley, limiting arguably the A-10’s most explosive point guard to a mere 10 points on 2-for-11 shooting. The pair of guards spent the entire night chasing Holloway and keeping full attention on the senior’s whereabouts.

Riley was proud of his effort on the defensive end and even was a little surprised on how well he did.

“He’s the best player on their team and one of the best point guards in the conference so my biggest focus when I got into the game was to just control him as much as I could,” he said. “I did a better job than I thought I was [going to] do, but I was just trying to keep him from having a big game and it worked.”

The junior, who has struggled to find a consistent role coming off the bench, played with the confidence and poise that fans will typical of seeing last season. Riley was very smart with his shots, pouring in 4-for-9 attempts for 12 points in 22 minutes.

Last time out against La Salle, he had one of his worst outings of the season in his two point, 1-for-5 shooting night in which some looks didn’t even come close.

“That was good to see [because], you know, Freddie’s been up and down a little bit,” said Kellogg. “And to see him come out and help us in, what I would say, was one of the biggest games of the season. It was nice to see that he hadn’t really given up on his playing time for the season that he’s [going to] fight and continue to help the team.”

Despite 10 turnovers in the opening four minutes, 34 seconds, the Musketeers held a 21-16 advantage with 8:41 left to play in the first half. UMass finally started to get its groove going thanks in large part to the sudden scoring outburst of Raphiael Putney. The sophomore hit consecutive 3-pointers – part of his 13-point night – that ignited an electric 25-8 Minutemen run to end the half.

UMass pushed its lead to 20 after a Riley lay-in with 11:58 remaining in the game to mark its biggest lead of the night. After Xavier cut the deficit on two occasions, Williams provided the dagger with a pair of clutch shots from behind the arc to cement the win.

The Minutemen hit the road for two crucial games with A-10 tournament-seeding implications at Dayton on Saturday and No. 22 Temple on Feb. 29.

Stephen Sellner can be reached at ssellner@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @MDC_Sellner.

 

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