La Salle Slips By UMass, 80-74, In Springfield
Jan. 10, 2010
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - La Salle used a 18-5 run to begin the second half to erase a seven-point UMass lead and the Minutemen were outscored, 16-10, over the final five minutes as they fell to the Explorers, 80-74, on Sunday afternoon at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. Freshman Freddie Riley's 22 points led all scorers, while La Salle placed four players in double-figures. UMass fell to 7-8 overall and 1-1 in the Atlantic 10, while La Salle improved to 8-7 and 1-1 in A-10 play.
Riley shot 6-for-14 from 3-point range on his way to 22 points, while Ricky Harris finished with 17 points. Terrell Vinson was 2-for-2 from behind the arc and also finished in double-figures for the Minutemen with 13 points.
Aaric Murray (18), Rodney Green (17), Yves Mekongo (17), and Steve Weingarten (10) all finished with double-digit points for the Explorers. Green recorded 12 assists, while Murray grabbed a dozen boards.
The Minutemen struggled at the free throw line, shooting 52.2 percent (12-23). The Explorers shot 67.6 percent (23-34) from the line.
UMass shot 42.2 percent (27-64) for the game and 33.3 percent (8-24) from 3-point range, while La Salle shot 44.8 percent (26-58) overall and 35.7 percent (5-14) from behind the arc. The Explorers had a 47-32 advantage on the boards, including a 30-13 edge in the second half.
UMass trailed by six with 3:04 left in the game when Harris completed a 3-point play to pull UMass within three before Jerrell Williams sank two free throws for La Salle to up the lead back to five, 72-67, with 2:39 left. The Minutemen missed four out of five free throws between the 1:18 and 31-second marks, while La Salle went 8-for-8 at the line in the final 21 seconds to secure the win.
The game started as a back and forth affair until the Minutemen outscored the Explorers, 9-3, over a stretch in which UMass held the visiting team without a field goal for 4:51 to take a 17-13 lead with 8:40 left in the half. The UMass first half lead reached as much as 10, 33-23, on a Terrell Vinson 3-pointer with 3:56 left, before eventually taking a seven-point lead, 37-30, into the locker room at halftime.
Vinson led the way in the opening 20 minutes with nine points, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range, while the Minutemen shot 50 percent as a team. Mekongo led the Explorers with eight points, while his club shot 37.9 percent from the floor in the opening half.
The lead quickly evaporated in the second half as La Salle opened the half with an 8-0 run, capped off by two Rodney Green free throws that gave the Explorers a 38-37 lead as they held UMass without a point for the first three minutes. The La Salle run eventually reached 18-5 over the first six minutes of the half as it built a six-point lead, 48-42.
At the 12:40 with UMass down seven, its biggest deficit, Riley caught fire, hitting four-straight 3-pointers in less than three minutes to give the Minutemen the lead back, 56-54, with 10 minutes to go. The teams went back and forth over the next five minutes with neither side building a lead bigger than three until the Explorers scored six-straight points to take a 70-64 lead with 3:18 to go.
The Minutemen return to action on Wednesday when they travel to Richmond to take on the Spiders in 7 p.m. A-10 contest. The road trip concludes on Saturday when UMass and Temple meet at 2 p.m. in Philadelphia.
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