August 21, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass mourns death of alumnus and journalist James Foley -

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kassan Messiah, Trey Seals to shoulder pass rushing responsibility for UMass football -

Thursday, August 21, 2014

UMass names Blake Frohnapfel as the starting quarterback -

Monday, August 18, 2014

Decision looms for Mark Whipple as UMass football looks to name starting quarterback -

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Former UMass star Marcel Shipp overseeing a strong running back competition -

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Former UMass basketball star Chaz Williams signs professional contract in Turkey, still eyeing NBA career -

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Minutemen anxious to display aggressive defense -

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

UMass football turns the page, excited for 2014 season -

Monday, August 4, 2014

UMass student struck and killed by vehicle Thursday night -

Friday, August 1, 2014

UMass receives anonymous $10.3 million gift -

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

UMass Football summer coverage 2014 -

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chiarelli: Sam Koch’s impact evident in those who knew him best -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Longtime UMass men’s soccer coach Sam Koch dies after two-year battle with sinus cancer -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Southwest evacuated after gas leak -

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

UMass Rowing finishes NCAA Championships, ends year ranked No. 21 in the nation -

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Two UMass basketball alums to compete for a lofty prize in The Basketball Tournament -

Friday, May 23, 2014

Commencement Photos 2014 -

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Two arrested in relation to series of vandalism -

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Students push for relocation of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health -

Monday, May 12, 2014

Video: No. 14 UMass WLAX ends season in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sampson Carter emerges as unlikely hero in season-opening win

Maria Uminski/Collegian

Maria Uminski/Collegian

It hadn’t exactly gone according to script.

Sampson Carter has never been the most athletic or talkative player in the gym in his time in Amherst. Calmly and quietly, the Massachusetts men’s basketball forward has gone about his business, listening to his coaches and teammates.

Likewise on Tuesday morning, the senior stepped on the court with one minute, 12 seconds remaining in a closely-contested battle between the Minutemen and Harvard like no one had noticed.

Jesse Morgan had hit a jumper – which started the comeback – to pull UMass within three. Carter then subbed in for Cady Lalanne, a move coach Derek Kellogg likely made to give his team an extra shooting option down the stretch, especially after Terrell Vinson – arguably the team’s most clutch player – fouled out with just over three minutes remaining.

But no one expected Carter to be the option.

After all, the 6-foot-8 forward had played all but seven minutes and misfired on both shot attempts he took. He was also in serious foul trouble, picking up four in his limited playing time.

But all of that didn’t matter. Morgan hit a deep 3-pointer to tie the game, and the suffocating UMass defensive press forced a turnover to give the team back the ball with just 28 seconds left.

It all came down to just one play. Carter took his spot in front of the UMass bench as he patiently waited for Chaz Williams to make a play. With about seven seconds remaining, the point guard went into motion. He blew by his defender to get into the lane, but the Crimson defense collapsed on him.

And then, just like they practiced so many times, Carter slid to the corner behind the 3-point line. Williams saw him in the corner of his eye and rifled a pass into his waiting hands. And without hesitation, Carter calmly rose and launched the ball and watched as it swished through the netting, sending the Mullins Center crowd into hysteria.

Harvard’s half-court heave was too late as the Minutemen escaped with a thrilling and rather unexpected and surprising come-from-behind victory in their season opener.

“It was funny, when Sampson was open, I instantly thought that he was going to make that shot,” Kellogg said. “He’s made that shot the last three days in practice every time, so if he didn’t make it, I would have been thoroughly disappointed.”
Luckily for Carter, he did.

“Once I saw Chaz go baseline, I knew I was getting it,” Carter said. “It’s stuff we work on, so I knew to slide to the corner. … It was instinct, I heard my bench behind me saying, ‘Knock (it) down,’ so I was confident.

Carter’s shot was all the more impressive not only given the in-game circumstances, but what he’s had to fight through to get back on the court.

A season ago, Carter was expected to be one of the Minutemen’s most reliable and veteran players on a team that was loaded with youth and inexperience. He scored a career-high 17 points to go along with seven rebounds in the team’s season-opening win over Elon.

He was one of UMass’ top scorers through its first seven games, but a lingering hip injury went too far in a Nov. 26 matchup with College of Charleston. His prospects appeared bleak as he missed the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery.

Carter wasn’t supposed to be one of the Minutemen’s top options especially early on this season. He wasn’t the first player off the bench on Tuesday, and while he did play, he’s still not quite 100 percent yet. His eight minutes reflected that, albeit he was also in foul trouble for most of the game.

“To come out there and get in foul trouble and not score until that moment, it was kind of just frustrating to me,” Carter said. “So I just think it was a testament to God to see if I could fight through and it just so happened that moment just happened, so I just take it like that.”

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

 

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