UMass Knocks Off Final A-10 Unbeaten, Defeating Charlotte, 86-79
Jan. 19, 2008
AMHERST, Mass. - Behind a 24-point effort by Ricky Harris, UMass (13-4, 2-1 A-10) defeated Charlotte (11-6, 2-1 A-10), 86-79, on Saturday afternoon at the Mullins Center. With the win, UMass knocked off the final unbeaten team in the Atlantic 10 and moves into a tie with several teams atop the balanced conference standings. Etienne Brower logged his third career double-double and first at UMass with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Gary Forbes and Dante Milligan each added 15 points, while the Minutemen made a season-high 29 free throws. The game featured a total of 13 lead changes and nine ties.
For the game, the Minutemen shot 46.9% (23-49), including 42.3% (11-26) from 3-point range, while 49ers shot 36.2% (25-69) and 34.5% (10-29) from behind the arc. UMass held the edge on the boards, 41-39, and blocked 12 shots, led by Tony Gaffney's five.
The Minutemen got off to a slow start, missing eight of their first ten shots and falling behind, 14-8, six minutes into the game. A Harris steal and layup preceded Luke Bonner taking a charge and then hitting a 3-pointer at the other end to jumpstart UMass. With the scored knotted at 18 at the 11:35 mark, UMass went on a 15-0 run over the next 3:03 to take a 30-18 lead. The 49ers came back with a run of their own, 11-0 over a 1:01 span, to take the lead, 36-35, with 3:17 left in the half. UMass outscored Charlotte, 6-2, in that time to take a 41-38 lead into halftime. Leemire Goldwire led the 49ers with 25 points and was 5-for-16 from 3-point range.
Brower led UMass with nine first half points, while the Minutemen outshot the 49ers, 48.4% (15-31) to 37.8% (14-37). Milligan grabbed seven boards to lead UMass to a 22-21 edge in rebounding in the first 20 minutes. Goldwire paced Charlotte with 11 points.
The 49ers used a 9-0 run early in the second half to take the lead back, 50-45, with 16:33 to go. Harris and Forbes then combined to outscore Charlotte, 14-5, over a 3:25 stretch to give UMass a 59-55 lead with 12:56 to go.
The teams would then slug it out, exchanging the lead six more times. Milligan scored seven-straight UMass points, five of them coming at the foul line, to give the Minutemen the lead for good, 74-72, at the 4:54 mark. Goldwire pulled the 49ers within three, 80-77, with 42 seconds left, but Milligan, Harris, and Gary Correia, who hadn't shot a free throw in 14 games, combined to make six free throws in the waning seconds to ice the UMass victory.
The Minutemen return to action on Wednesday, when they travel to Philadelphia to take on Saint Joseph's at 6 p.m. The game will be televised live on CN8.
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