UMass Claims A-10 Opener 80-76 Over Fordham
Jan. 5, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass men's basketball team pulled out a hard-fought 80-76 win over Fordham extending its win streak to six straight games and starting the Atlantic 10 season with a win at the Mullins Center on Thursday night. The Minutemen had a balanced scoring offense with five players in double figures with Chaz Williams leading the team with 20 points. The win improves UMass to 12-3 overall and 1-0 in the A-10, while Fordham falls to 7-7 overall, 0-1 in the league.
Raphiael Putney recorded his first career double-double, ending the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Terrell Vinson also recorded a double-double, his third of the season and sixth of his career, scoring 14 points and grabbing a career high 14 rebounds.
Fordham's Chris Gaston and Kervin Bristol each had double-doubles to lead the Rams. Gaston had 16 points and 18 rebounds, while Bristol posted 11 points and 12 rebounds. Branden Frazier led Fordham with 19 points, while Bryan Smith rounded out the top scorers with 14.
The Minutemen went five of eight from beyond the arc in the first seven minutes of the second half, starting with two from Williams and ending with two from Vinson. UMass went on a 14-0 run in the middle of the half, but Fordham battled back to within four on a 14-6 run. The rest of the half stayed close, with Fordham taking the Minuteman lead down to one with 17 seconds left in the game. Free throw shooting decided the game, with Williams hitting three, and Lamount Samuell of Fordham missing his two attempts.
The Minutemen struggled to put together an offense in the first half, but managed to end it with the lead (33-32) off of a 7-1 run in the last three minutes, punctuated by a Putney alley-oop dunk with 14 seconds left. Riley led the team in points in the half with eight, hitting two of six from beyond the arc. Putney was key on defense, grabbing six defensive boards.
Fordham's shooting percentages were better in all categories, with the biggest differential coming at the line where the Rams shot 70 percent and UMass shot 59.5 percent. The Minutemen ended the night shooting 37.3 percent from the field.
The Minutemen will face La Salle next on Sunday, January 8 at 2 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on Comcast SportsNet New England.