Strong Second Half Lifts UMass Over Temple, 79-75
Jan. 17, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - On the night that UMass basketball celebrated its great teams and players of the 1970s, the Minutemen turned in an inspired performance, defeating Atlantic 10 rival Temple, 79-75, on Saturday night at the Mullins Center. UMass eliminated a four-point halftime deficit with a strong second half to end the Owls four-game winning streak. With the win, UMass improves to 7-9 on the season and 2-1 in A-10 play, while Temple, 36th in the RPI entering the game, drops to 9-7 and 1-1 in-conference.
Ricky Harris led UMass with 24 points, while Anthony Gurley and Tony Gaffney added 16 and 14 points, respectively. Chris Lowe registered his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 assists. Gurley was 4-for-6 on 3-point shots.
Temple's Dionte Christmas led all scorers with 26 points and nine rebounds. Ryan Brooks added 17 for the Owls.
The Minutemen shot 47.8 percent (11-23) from behind the arc, while shooting 48 percent overall. The Owls shot 36.4 percent (12-33) from long range and 42 percent overall.
After a Luke Bonner 3-pointer gave the Minutemen an early 5-4 lead, Temple's shooters, led by Christmas, heated up and went on an 11-0 run to take a 15-5 four and half minutes into the game. The Owls started the game by making four of their first five from 3-point range.
The Owls led by 11 when UMass' offense came alive for 17-5 run over a 7:56 span to give the Minutemen the lead, 30-29, with 4:01 left in the half. Five different Minutemen scored during the run that was started with a Gaffney dunk and capped off with a Lowe floater in the lane.
Temple would retake the lead by outscoring UMass, 8-3, in the closing four minutes of the half to go to the locker room leading, 37-33.
Harris led the Minutemen with nine first half points, while the team shot 37.5 percent, including 5-for-14 from behind the arc. Lowe dished out six assists in the first 20 minutes. Temple shot 40 percent for the half and was led by Brooks' 12 points.
The teams slugged it out early in the second half, trading the lead five times in the first six minutes. The Minutemen put together a 10-2 run, led by 3-pointers from Gary Correia and Harris, to take their biggest lead of the game to that point, 56-50, with 11:57 to go.
Gurley converted a 4-point play at the 9:31 and just over a minute later hit another three that he was fouled on, but an 8-0 spurt from the Owls followed. Christmas scored six of those points to give Temple the lead back, 66-63, with 7:34 on the clock.
The clubs traded the lead three more times with a Gaffney layup giving the Minutemen the lead for good, 71-70, with just over two and half left to play.
A Harris 3-pointer at the 1:49 mark upped the lead to four and the junior guard went 4-for-4 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the win.
The Minutemen return to action on Wednesday when they travel to Charlotte to take on the 49ers in a 7:30 p.m. game.
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