UMass Basketball Holds Rhode Island At Bay For 70-67 Win
Feb. 26, 2014
AMHERST, Mass. - After overcoming a double-figure deficit in the first half, the UMass basketball team staved off long-time rival Rhode Island 70-67 on Wednesday night at the Mullins Center. The 142nd edition of the Bay State/Ocean State match-up saw a nip-and-tuck second half with the Minutemen able to put together a 10-to-5 run in the last 3:32 for the win.
UMass (22-5, 9-4 A-10) was led by 16 points and six assists from Chaz Williams and 13 points and five rebounds from Trey Davis. Sampson Carter added 11 points, while Derrick Gordon was just a point shy of a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Rhode Island (12-17, 3-11 A-10) was led by Gilvydas Biruta who had a game-high 17 points. Xavier Munford had 16 points, while E.C. Matthews added 14 points. Hassan Martin rounded out the Rams' top scorers with 13 points.
Free throws, especially down the stretch for UMass, were a major difference maker with the Minutemen going 21-of-31 from the stripe, while Rhody was 11-of-18 on the night.
The second half started with UMass coming out fired up with a 10-to-2 run taking a 41-32 lead in the first three minutes of play.
The Rams closed the gap incrementally and eventually took a one-point lead, 55-54, on one of two free throws from Jarelle Reischel at the 6:05 mark.
A traditional three-point play nearly 90 seconds later for Reischel put Rhode Island back up by four before UMass was able to tie the game again at 60-60 on a pair of lay-ups from Putney and a lay-up by Gordon.
The game was tied twice more after that until Gordon hit a driving floater giving UMass a 66-64 lead with 1:36 to go. Matthews had a chance to tie the game for Rhode Island but missed the first of two free throws 30 seconds after Gordon's lay-up.
An offensive foul on UMass' next possession gave the Rams the ball back with 56 seconds. Lalanne forced Gilvydas Biruta into a travelling call back on the other end which set up a pair of free throws from Williams with 24.4 seconds left.
Munford's drive to the hoop on the Rams' next possession was blocked away with Davis coming down with the rebound and getting fouled. Davis sank a pair of free throws with 3.7 seconds to go giving UMass a 70-65 lead. Matthews hit a lay-up at the buzzer for the final score.
The Minutemen trailed by as many as 13 points midway through the first half, but closed out the stanza on a 21-to-9 run taking a 31-30 lead at the intermission. UMass made good on 14 offensive rebounds to garner nine second-chance points which helped erase the deficit.
UMass finished the game hitting 22-of-57 field goals (38.6%), while Rhode Island was 26-of-52 (50%). The Minutemen held a major advantage on the boards with a 41-to-28 edge. A total of 18 of the 41 rebounds for UMass were on the offensive glass leading to 16 second chance points for the Minutemen.
A pair of road games are on tap for UMass as the Minutemen head to Dayton on Saturday, March 1 for an 11 AM tip-off on ESPNU. That trip will be followed by a visit to Duquesne next Wednesday, March 5 (7 PM).