Feb. 23, 2005
UMass 70, Rhode Island 64 (OT) * Mullins Center, Amherst, Mass. * Feb. 23 2005
UMass is now six games over .500 at 15-9, for the first time since the end of the 1997-98 season when they finished 21-11. UMass has also secured an above .500 mark in the entire season for the first time since the 1999-2000 season when they finished 17-16.
UMass' 15th win is the most in a single-season under Steve Lappas in his four years in Amherst. The 2000-01 team went 15-15 prior to his arrival. UMass also won its eighth conference game, its best A-10 record in four years under Lappas.
Wednesday's game was the 124th in the series with Rhode Island. UMass holds a 71-53 lead in the series winning both games this season (49-44 back on Feb. 9). It's the first time UMass has swept its longest-standing rival since the 2000-01 season when they won in Providence (78-46) and in Amherst (82-67).
With the win, UMass has set up a battle for second place in the A-10 East as the Minutemen (8-5) face second-place Temple (9-4) on Saturday. In that game Owl head coach John Chaney will sit out after a self-imposed one-game suspension.
UMass won its fifth OT game of the season to set the school record for OT wins in a season, the 1995-96 team went 4-0 in extra-session games. The All-Time NCAA Record for overtime wins in a season is six, done twice by Wake Forest in 1983-84 and Chattanooga in 1988-89.
The win over Rhode Island marked UMass' fifth win in overtime vs. an A-10 team, setting a new conference record. Previously, the 1990-91 Saint Joseph's team and this year's UMass team won four conference games in OT.
UMass played its fifth overtime game of the season, tying the school record of five set in 1990-91 and 1997-98.
UMass had a season-high in blocked shots with 12 led by the A-10's second-best shot blocker Stephane Lasme, who set his career-high with seven blocks for the fourth time in his career.
UMass had its best field goal defense of the season in a game limiting Rhode Island to just 30.0 from the floor. UMass held Temple to 30.3 on Jan. 5.
UMass is 10-1 this season in games decided by six or fewer points.
Rashaun Freeman reached double-figures for the 42nd time in 53 career games and 18h time in 24 games this season with 23. He had 11 points in the first half. Freeman reached 20 points for the seventh time this season and 12th in his career.
Freeman also had 17 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season and 16th of his career. It was his second game this season with 15-plus rebounds and third of his career.
Art Bowers was also in the starting line-up for the third straight game with Anthony Anderson coming off the bench because of a back injury. He finished with 17 points, his third straight game in double-figures and eighth time this season. He now has 20 career games with 10 or more points. His point total was his most since Dec. 23 vs. Rider when he had a season-high 21.
Anthony Anderson entered the game with 6:12 left in the first half after missing the last two games with a back injury. Anderson did not score in six minutes.
Lawrence Carrier did not dress as he has a left hamstring injury.
Alassane Kouyate dressed for the first time this season. He missed all of last season and has not played this season with chronic knee injuries.
The crowd of 5,324 was the third-largest of the season after the UConn (9,037) and Boston College (6,837) games.
Other Notes: UMass won the tap ... Rhode Island's Parfait Bitee opened the game scoring with a three-pointer ... Art Bowers answered with his own trey at 17:50 ... Jeff Viggiano was the game's first sub with 15:57 left ... Viggiano drew a charge on Marcel Monplaisir with 9:49 left in the first half ... Rhode Island had a scoreless stretch of 4:25 - missing four shots in a row, as UMass went on an 8-0 run to build its largest lead of the half at 28-19 with 1:08 left in the first half ... UMass assisted its first nine baskets of the game and all but its last field goal of the first half ... UMass shot 55.6 (10-of-18) in the first half, holding Rhode Island to just 25.8 percent in the first half (8-for-31) ... for the second time this season Stephane Lasme donned No. 52 after getting blood on his No. 5 jersey (also vs. Xavier on Jan. 8).