Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass hoops escapes at Fordham for first conference victory

NEW YORK — Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg watched as his squad’s 10-point lead midway through the second half dwindled and dwindled until all of a sudden Fordham cut the deficit to two with one minute, four seconds remaining.

Taylor C. Snow/Collegian

The Rams had the momentum of a 9-2 jolt and the rumbling crowd of 2,567 fans at Rose Hill Gymnasium bearing down over the court, ready to erupt once more with a defensive stand by the home team to set up a chance to force overtime or walk off with a heart-thumping victory.

But Kellogg knew the storm would come, and he knew how this contest would end. And when Freddie Riley buried a triple with 33.9 seconds left to build a five-point cushion and silence the crowd, followed by freshman Trey Davis’ one clutch free throw after another to cement the win, Kellogg wasn’t the least bit surprised.

“It didn’t surprise me much when the lead started coming down a little bit,” he said. “I knew we were gonna hold and be strong and tough and try to win the game.”

UMass (11-4, 1-1 Atlantic 10) grabbed its first conference win of the season Sunday afternoon, holding on for a 77-73 escape at Fordham (5-12, 1-1 A-10).

“I thought winning on the road against a team that I think is much improved and had won their last three at home is a good start for our program to get to 1-1 in the conference,” Kellogg said. “I think that’s a team that’s gonna do well in the conference, especially at home.”

The Minutemen’s 40-26 halftime advantage didn’t last very long, as Chris Gaston and Branden Frazier shook off uncharacteristic poor first halves —1-for-10 and 1-for-7, respectively — to jump start Fordham’s second half surge. Gaston and Frazier combined to score 21 of the Rams’ first 23 points in the second half to cut the deficit down to nine, 58-49, with 9:09 left to go. Gaston finished the game with 20 points (8-for-9 in the second half), while Frazier racked up 21 in the defeat.

“I figured it was going to get tighter before they got further away because those guys are good players,” Kellogg said of Gaston and Frazier. “They’re two of the better guys in the league.”

Fortunately for Kellogg, his best player showed up to play as well.

Chaz Williams — a Brooklyn, N.Y., native — returned back to the New York area to catapult UMass with 22 points, seven assists, six boards and zero turnovers. With Jesse Morgan inactive due to a knee sprain, Williams spent most of the game running off screens at the two-guard spot while Davis ran the point.

“When you’re a basketball player, you gotta go out there and do what coach wants you to do,” Williams said. “It actually felt good (to be) off the ball for a little bit and not having everybody just looking at me.”

Kellogg knows how important Williams’ play is while Morgan is sidelined.

“I thought tonight he started to put together a complete basketball game,” Kellogg said. “We need him to play that way right now, especially with Jesse’s injury. We need Chaz to do what he’s doing.”

Davis had a breakout game, scoring 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting, while also dishing out four assists against zero turnovers.

The Minutemen were torched on the glass, particularly in the first half when Fordham grabbed 16 offensive boards to UMass’ five. The Rams finished the contest with 26 offensive rebounds and 22 second-chance points.

Kellogg was concerned with his team’s play on the glass and noted that’s an area the Minutemen need to address.

“If we get a little tougher on the boards, we should be OK,” Kellogg said.

UMass continues A-10 play as it welcomes Duquesne to the Mullins Center Thursday night for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

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

Leave A Comment