December 20, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

BLOG: UMass football recruiting roundup: UMass signs DT, offers two kickers -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass President Robert Caret resigns to become chancellor of the University of Maryland system -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brandon Montour: ‘It felt great to be out there’ -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass falls to Northeastern in Brandon Montour’s debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cady Lalanne continues to evolve as a potential outside shooting threat -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

UMass hockey returns to action against Northeastern, Montour to make season debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Demetrius Dyson remains hopeful despite rocky start to season -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Former UMass soccer star Matt Keys aims to continue his career professionally -

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pierre-Louis, Dillard shine in UMass victory over Holy Cross -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Passing, spacing improved in UMass victory -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Prolific first half propels UMass past Canisius, 75-58 -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

UMass Faculty Senate hears ad hoc committee’s report on FBS football, shoots down contentious motion -

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Minutemen hope improved spacing will aid struggling half court offense -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Divest UMass urges Board of Trustees to split with fossil fuel industry -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cady Lalanne accustomed to dealing with increased attention -

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Front to Back: Week of Dec. 1, 2014 -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chiarelli: UMass basketball running out of time to find its identity -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Minutewomen take care of business against American -

Monday, December 8, 2014

UMass women’s basketball handles American, 71-61 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

UMass basketball downed by Florida Gulf Coast 84-75 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

UMass tops Seton Hall, advances to NIT quarterfinals

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Even an early 11 a.m. start time couldn’t prevent the Massachusetts men’s basketball team’s season from continuing.

Playing in yet another win or go home situation, UMass (24-11) prevailed, as it knocked off top-seeded Seton Hall, 77-67, in a hostile, sold out Walsh Gymnasium on Saturday, to move on to the quarterfinal round of the National Invitation Tournament.

“I was happy with the final outcome, I thought the victory was nice for the team,” said UMass coach Derek Kellogg in a postgame radio interview. “I was happy with the way the kids persevered and fought [coming] into a tough environment.”

With six minutes, 42 seconds remaining in the game, UMass found itself in a four-point hole, trailing 60-56, after commanding most of the game. But just as they have done so often in recent weeks, the Minutemen persevered.

Terrell Vinson kick started a run with an and-1 off of a feed from Chaz Williams. And after Sean Carter made a reverse layup and Williams hit back-to-back free throws, UMass was back out in front, 63-60, with 5:02 left.

Seton Hall didn’t back down, though. Herb Pope answered a Vinson jumper with two free throws to make it a one-point game with 3:24 left. But with a chance to take the lead on the ensuing possession, Fuquan Edwin turned the ball over.

Vinson then found Williams, who buried a huge 3-pointer to extend the Minutemen’s lead to 68-64. On the Pirates’ next possession, Pope turned the ball over again, and on the other end, Williams returned the favor, passing it to Vinson, who drained a deep 3-pointer to give UMass a 71-64 lead with 1:38 to go.

Those two shots proved to be the difference makers. A Jordan Theodore and-1 with 54 seconds remaining narrowed it to a five-point game, but it proved to be too little, too late. The Minutemen made their free throws in the waning seconds to preserve the victory and keep their season alive.

Williams played all 40 minutes and finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Raphiael Putney scored 15 points and Sean Carter chipped in a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Maxie Esho came off the bench and scored nine points – which all came in the first half.

“It was a good total team effort, from the way Maxie, Freddie [Riley] and Javorn [Farrell] played at times coming off the bench to the guys that started, I thought we had a nice eight-man rotation,” said Kellogg. “The kids are confident right now. They’re playing pretty hard and we’re competing at a high level.”

UMass was in control for most of the first half, and were on top by as much as 11 midway through. But Seton Hall came back, narrowing its deficit to six by halftime.

In the second half, the Pirates slowed the game down while chipping away at the Minutemen’s lead. A Pope layup gave them a 54-53 lead with 9:33 to go in the game, but that didn’t deter Williams and his teammates.

“We just wanted to stick to our game plan and just keep playing,” said Williams. “Coach always says that no matter what the other team does, as long as we play UMass basketball, nobody can compete with us.”

The fifth-seeded Minutemen will now await the winner of tomorrow’s matchup between Drexel and Northern Iowa for a Tuesday night date in the quarterfinals.

If the seventh-seeded Panthers win, then UMass will host Tuesday’s game at the Mullins Center. If the third-seeded Dragons come out on top, the Minutemen will go on the road to Philadelphia, where Kellogg and former UMass coach and current Drexel coach Bruiser Flint will square off.

“I’d love to see him win,” said Kellogg. “I think it would be a great game for the UMass family, the people that appreciated what he did up at UMass and it would also be a great game for television.”

Stephen Hewitt can be reached at shewitt@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @MDC_Hewitt.

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