Scrolling Headlines:

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

Minutemen third, Minutewomen finish fifth in Atlantic 10 Championships for UMass track and field -

May 8, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse wins A-10 title for ninth straight season -

May 8, 2017

Dayton takes two from UMass softball in weekend series -

May 8, 2017

Towson stonewalls UMass men’s lacrosse in CAA Championship; Minutemen season ends after 9-4 loss -

May 6, 2017

Zach Coleman to join former coach Derek Kellogg at LIU Brooklyn -

May 5, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse advances to CAA finals courtesy of Dan Muller’s heroics -

May 4, 2017

UMass has a flare for the dramatic

Maria Uminski/Collegian

ALBANY, N.Y. – The Massachusetts men’s basketball team has had a flare for the dramatics early on this season.

Wednesday night’s 64-63 victory at Siena after Chaz Williams’ tough bucket down the lane with 3.3 seconds remaining reemphasized a common theme for the Minutemen – they’re  capturing  triumphs by the skins of their teeth.

Williams’ go-ahead basket made up for UMass’ abysmal first half that featured botched lay-ups and clanked 3-pointers that led to a 34-24 halftime deficit.

But as the Minutemen (3-2) have done so many times already this season, they didn’t panic. They started to play the way their capable of playing. They just felt the need to wait out the first 20 minutes, as one critic after another offered to give up their seat on the UMass basketball bandwagon.

Even UMass coach Derek Kellogg was disgusted with his own team’s play. But when Williams held the ball with 24 seconds to start the final possession, he didn’t call a timeout, despite having one in his pocket. He already knew what his team was capable of and put the fate of the game in his players’ hands once again – just as he did on Nov. 15 against Providence and Nov. 13 against Harvard.

And for Williams, the faith Kellogg shows in his players makes all the difference.

“He left the game in our hands and I just had to go make a play,” Williams said.

It was Williams who was all the difference in the second half. The junior led the Minutemen with a game-high 23 points with 14 coming in the final frame. Williams even got the 3-point carousal rolling ever so slightly with a pair of treys that helped salvage a 7-for-33 mark from behind the arc. He also added in four of his six assists in the second half and eight of his 10 rebounds.

Williams said it was his duty to spark the team when it appeared nothing could go its way.

But it took some more faith from another party; this time from senior Terrell Vinson, who encouraged Williams to keep attacking after Williams was discouraged with his 9-for-22 shooting in the first half.

“Terrell kept telling me, ‘Keep shooting. They’re gonna go in eventually,’” Williams said.

And they did. Had they not, people might’ve started questioning whether this team deserves all the hype.

So what can be said about the Minutemen’s 3-2 start to the 2012-13 season? Is it a team that’s lucky to not to be 0-5 after three walk-off victories? Or is it a team that shines under pressure where there’s no room for error?

Williams likes to think it’s the latter and attributes the late-game heroics to the ability of the ‘brotherhood’ to “stick together.”

“I feel like our brotherhood code goes a long way and it shows down the end in late games,” Williams said. “We just have that faith and confidence in each other to know we’re gonna pull through at the end of the game no matter what, and just as long as we stay together and just continue to play UMass basketball.”

Kellogg clearly would rather have the wins come another way. In fact, Kellogg was relieved with the win and acknowledged that three last-second triumphs is uncharted territory for a team.

“It’s probably the strangest 3-2 I’ve ever seen in my life,” Kellogg said. “Three last-second game-winners is probably unheard of and unfathomable. But I guess we’ll take it.”

Kellogg is clearly uneasy with the manner in which the wins are coming, even if they are, in fact, wins. So is Vinson, who said after the game that he wished the victories would “come in a better way.”

UMass won’t survive slow starts like these once conference play rolls around. At some point, the Minutemen will have to string together 40 minutes of “UMass basketball” if it doesn’t want a promising season to fall short of its NCAA Tournament goals.

So until the Minutemen start to figure it out, there might be more buzzer-beating finishes to come.

Brace yourselves.

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

 

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