December 19, 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 basketball escapes with another last-second victory

Collegian File Photo

ALBANY, N.Y. – Derek Kellogg said he was disgusted.

Watching his team get out to an ugly start, the Massachusetts men’s basketball coach was unhappy to say the least as the Minutemen sat in the locker rooms at halftime with a 10-point deficit blankly staring them in the face.

But then everything started to click. What was once a 17-point first-half hole turned into a lead midway through the second half and became yet another close, down-to-the-wire finish that seemed to be so fitting for a Minuteman team that has earned all of its victories this season in the closing moments.

The final play was eerily similar to other UMass game-winners. With 24 seconds left, UMass got the ball back trailing by one. Kellogg, with a timeout to burn, yet again let the game’s fate lie in the hands of his players.

And point guard Chaz Williams, like he had been for most of the second half, was more than up for the task.

The junior point guard cut through the Saints defense, drove through the lane and banked a lay-up off the backboard and in with 3.3 seconds left to lift UMass (3-2) to a 64-63 win over Siena (2-5) on Wednesday night at the Times Union Center.

“It’s a play that we usually run at the end of the games, and coach had the faith in me and he didn’t call any timeouts … he left the game in our hands,” Williams said. “I just had to go make a play.”

“It was good to see our guys kind of gut out another win, it wasn’t really the way I envisioned it once again,” Kellogg said. “It’s probably the strangest 3-2 (record) I’ve ever seen in my life. Three last-second game-winners is probably unheard of and unfathomable, but I guess we’ll take it.”

It certainly didn’t seem fathomable in the first half as UMass got out to arguably its worst start of the young season. Coming out after a 10-day layoff from games, the Minutemen couldn’t buy a bucket in the opening minutes and finished the first half 11-for-34 (32 percent) from the field, including 2-of-15 from 3-point territory.

On the other end, the Saints couldn’t miss. UMass had a double team set on national rebounding leader O.D. Anosike, which gave Siena wide-open looks and a 34-24 halftime lead, thanks to 7-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc.

“I just thought the guys were unconfident and didn’t really play as hard as we should and could,” Kellogg said. “That’s really what I let them know at halftime. You can go away and put your tail between your legs or we can come out and scrap and try to battle a little bit.”

The Minutemen seemed to take the latter of their coach’s advice as they bounced back quickly in the opening minutes of the second half.

Spurred by Williams, who finished with a game-high 23 points and added eight rebounds and six assists, UMass sped the pace of the game up and finally started to bury some of its open looks from downtown.

Williams seemed to put the game in his hands and erupted for 14 second-half points, including three 3-pointers to put the game back in control of the Minutemen.

“I was a little disappointed (in the first half) and I didn’t really want to shoot anymore,” Williams said. “But Terrell (Vinson) kept telling me, ‘Keep shooting, they’re going to start going in eventually,’ and they just kept falling so coach kept running the plays and we kept executing.”

After UMass finally retook its first lead since early in the first half midway through the second, the game turned into a nip-and-tuck affair with neither team letting off the gas.

With 2:04 left in regulation, Vinson – who finished with 17 points – fouled out as Anosike went to the foul line, where he made one of two free throws to give the Saints a 63-60 lead. But the Minutemen stormed back, and didn’t let up on the defensive end as they kept Siena from scoring in the final two minutes.

Morgan finished a fast-break lay-up with 50 seconds remaining to pull UMass within one, and then helped on the defensive end to force the Saints into a missed jumper, which set up Williams’ heroics.

“I’m happy that we won, you want to learn from wins,” Kellogg said.

The Minutemen will have a few days of rest before they return to action Saturday afternoon against Miami (Fla.) at the Mullins Center.

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

 

 

Comments
One Response to “UMass basketball escapes with another last-second victory”
  1. UMatt says:

    A win is a win. We need a big crowd, especially students, on Saturday afternoon to support this team against Miami!

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