UMass men’s basketball escapes URI’s late comeback attempt to advance to quarterfinals of A-10 tournament

By Andrew Cyr

(Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

NEW YORK –– When the Massachusetts men’s basketball season was on the line, there was no doubting who it would turn to in the final minute after the Minutemen had come minutes away from its worst letdown of the season.

After watching a first half 18-point lead go down the drain, UMass (15-17, 7-12 Atlantic 10) turned to senior guard Trey Davis to turn the ship around as the Minutemen escaped with a 67-62 win against Rhode Island in the second round of the A-10 tournament Thursday night.

Trailing 61-60, Davis drew a foul on URI’s (17-16, 9-10 A-10) Four McGlynn, sinking both to give UMass a one-point lead with one minute, 24 seconds remaining.

However, it was the following possession where Davis stole the show.

With McGlynn draped all over him, Davis hit a step-back 3-pointer from the wing to give the Minutemen a two-possession 63-59 lead that they would not surrender.

“Well, in my mind it was in, just for one reason. I’m not sure — I’ve seen him do it quite a few times this season, and it gave us a nice four-point lead,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said when asked what was going through his head when Davis’ shot left his hands.

“It was a play that – we were kind of struggling to score for a while. We started walking the ball up the floor and I think that was the obvious play that ended up giving us the victory,” Kellogg added.

“Trey Davis, he’s a slick kid with that one-point lead, he was able to get to the free-throw line, and then obviously made both of those and then hit that dagger three there which really just — that was the kill shot, and an incredibly tough shot,” URI coach Dan Hurley said.

Davis finished with 20 points and seven rebounds.

Before Davis’ 3-pointer, the Minutemen went 10:06 between field goals as the Rams went on an 18-4 run to take their first lead of the game with 1:49 remaining after Jared Terrell made a corner 3-pointer. UMass missed 14 straight field goals during that stretch, seven of which were layup attempts.

Exactly one week removed from playing their worst half of the season, the Minutemen – who scored 12 points against the Rams at Ryan Center last Thursday – was the one who came out firing on all cylinders as it took a 37-19 lead when Jabarie Hinds hit a 3-pointer at the top of the key with the shot clock winding down.

Hinds scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half, on 7-of-11 shooting.

“Obviously, Jabarie Hinds and Trey Davis, two amazing senior performances. I think that’s what this time of year is, seniors not wanting their teams and their careers to end,” Hurley said.

McGlynn led URI with 16 points, while Earl Watson (15 points, 15 rebounds) and Terrell (14 points) finished close behind.

Rashaan Holloway was the only other UMass player to score in double digits – his third time in the last four games – finishing with 10 points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.

UMass plays Virginia Commonwealth in the quarterfinal Friday night at 6:30 p.m.

“Yeah, it’s special. I’m happy for tonight, but then we’ve got another game tomorrow and got to come back and get my mind back right and get ready for that game,” Davis said.

Kellogg added: “For our guys to kind of give up that lead and then make a play immediately and then kind of finish off the game I think shows their character and that they want to try to make a run here.”

Andrew Cyr can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.