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

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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