UMass D's It Up, Downs Saint Joseph's, 70-62
Feb. 14, 2010
AMHERST, Mass. - UMass held Saint Joseph's scoreless for the final 10:49 of the first half going on a 16-0 run to secure a 70-62 win over the Hawks on Sunday afternoon at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen put forth a tremendous defensive effort forcing Saint Joseph's to miss its final 13 shots of the first half as the Hawks didn't make a field goal in the final 11:35. With the win, UMass (10-15 overall) moves into a tie for eighth in the Atlantic 10 with a 4-7 conference record (with Duquesne). Saint Joseph's (9-16 overall), falls to 13th in the A-10 at 3-8. Only the top 12 teams in the league qualify for the league tournament.
The reigning Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Week Ricky Harris led the Minutemen with 27 points as he became the fourth player in UMass history to surpass 1,800 career points. With 1,816, Harris is the active career scoring leader in the Atlantic 10. Over his last six games, Harris is averaging more than 27 points per game with at least 22 in each game. Anthony Gurley added 15 points. Sean Carter grabbed double-figure rebounds for the fifth time this season and second game in a row with 11 after a career-high 19 in the comeback win at Duquesne on Thursday.
The Minutemen finished the first half, scoring the final 16 points of the period with Harris scoring seven of the points in the run. Matt Hill's 3-pointer with 3:27 left in the first gave UMass a 23-19 lead. That was the first score in more than five minutes as neither team scored following a Harris lay-up which gave the Minutemen the lead they would never relinquish with 8:36 left in the first at 20-19. UMass had its largest halftime lead since being up 15 at Holy Cross on Dec. 5, 2009 and its largest in a conference game this season. For the first time in three games, UMass didn't trail by double-figures at halftime, as the Minutemen led by double-figures for just the fourth time in 2009-10.
Saint Joseph's cut UMass' lead to as small as six early in the second half on two occasions. Carl Jones' 3-pointer with 13:49 left in the second, brought the Hawks to within, 38-32. But UMass maintained a double-digit lead for most of the remainder of the half until the final minutes.
Saint Joseph's Garrett Williams made two free throws with 2:00 left in the game to bring the Hawks to within five at 59-54. Javorn Farrell made two free throws with 1:29 left to put the Minutemen up 61-54. Jones' runner made it a five-point game again at 61-56 with 1:20 left. Harris and Gurley combined for nine free throws in the final minute to solidify the win.
Williamson led the Hawks in scoring with 19 points. Darren Govens had 15 points and Justin Crosgile chipped in with 11.
The Minutemen's next game is set for Wednesday, Feb. 17 at George Washington at 7 p.m. The next home game is Sunday, Feb. 21 vs. Saint Louis at 4 p.m.
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