April 19, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

VIDEO: UMass United Ralley in support of Derrick Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Friday, April 18, 2014

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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.

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