UMass Drops Instant Classic To #23 Temple, 90-88 In OT
Feb. 29, 2012
PHILADELPHIA - The Massachusetts men's basketball team erased a 10-point deficit with just over two minutes left in regulation to force overtime before eventually falling to No. 23/25 Temple 90-88 in a game reminiscent of some of the classic UMass-Temple battles of the past.
Chaz Williams turned in a brilliant performance for UMass (19-10, 8-7 Atlantic 10) as he finished with 26 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and four steals. Raphiael Putney and Terrell Vinson both had 16 before fouling out of the contest.
With one game remaining, UMass is tied for sixth with La Salle and Dayton - both of whom have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Minutemen.
Temple (23-6, 12-3) clinched a tie for the league's regular-season title and was led by Khalif Wyatt who scored 26 points, including the winning layup in the final seconds of overtime.
The Owls made a living at the free throw line, making 30-of-40 compared to 6-of-10 for the Minutemen. UMass shot 45 percent and used a 12-of-24 effort from outside to keep the pressure on all game.
But the long-range jumpers were never more important then the final minutes of regulation when UMass trailed 77-67 with 2:01 to play. That's when Williams made a trey from the top of the key, stole an inbounds pass for a layup and Freddie Riley drained a fadeaway in the corner to cut the margin to 77-75 in the span of 50 seconds.
Following a pair of Temple free throws, Riley made another three in the opposite corner to make it a one-point game with 50.4 left. The Owls split a pir of free throw before Putney made a putback with 26 tics left that ties the game at 80 and force the extra session.
The Minutemen scored the first six points of overtime for their largest lead of the night but couldn't hold it as the Owls made five freebies and tied it at 88 with a 3-point play by Wyatt. After a pair of missed bucket from Williams and Maxie Esho, Wyatt scored the game winner with 16.1 on the clock.
Jesse Morgan was off on a baseline runner and Esho couldn't connect on the tip before the Owls grabbed the rebound to end the contest.
The game was tied eight times and had 11 lead changes. UMass held a slim 44-38 edge in the paint while Temple finished with a 48-45 lead on the boards.
UMass will return home to conclude the regular season when it plays host to Rhode Island on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off at the Mullins Center for the annual Leaman Legacy game is set for 4 p.m.
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