UMass Dominates Second Half To Defeat GW, 77-62, On Senior Night
March 4, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - On the night UMass honored seniors Luke Bonner, Tony Gaffney, and Chris Lowe, the Minutemen turned in an inspired second half effort to erase a three-point halftime deficit and defeat George Washington, 77-62, on Wednesday night at the Mullins Center. The win clinches the Minutemen a berth in the Atlantic 10 Tournament and improves their record to 11-17 over all and 6-9 in A-10 play. GW falls to 10-17 overall and 4-11 in conference.
The Minutemen trailed by two with just over 12 minutes left before dominating the rest of the game, outscoring the Colonials, 29-12.
Ricky Harris led UMass with 19 points, shooting 5-for-8 from 3-point range. Gaffney and Lowe finished their Mullins Center careers with strong performances, scoring 11 and 14 points, respectively. Gaffney added 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season, while Lowe dished out eight assists. The Minutemen shot 44.8 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from 3-point range.
GW's Rob Diggs led all scorers with 22 points on 11-for-19 shooting. The Colonials shot 40.4 percent for the game.
After an emotional Senior Night ceremony before the game, the Minutemen flew out to a 9-2 lead in the opening two and half minutes. 10 of the team's first 13 points were scored by seniors Gaffney and Lowe. The lead reached nine before the Colonials went on an 11-2 run over a four minute span to tie the game, 15-15, with 11:52 left in the half.
The Minutemen built the lead back to six, 25-19, on a layup by Tyrell Lynch, but GW then ran off seven straight points to take its first lead of the game, 26-25, with 7:02 left in the half. That was the start of a 15-3 Colonials run over a six minute span that gave them a 34-28 lead with 1:45 left in the half.
A pair of Bonner free throws and a 3-pointer by Anthony Gurley pulled UMass back within three points at halftime, 36-33.
Lowe led the Minutemen with nine first half points, while the team shot better from 3-point range (37.5%) than from the field (35.5%) in the first 20 minutes. The Colonials shot 46.4 percent in the first half and were led by Diggs' 10 points.
The Minutemen started out hot again in the second half, outscoring the Colonials, 10-2, over the first 3:15 take the lead back, 43-38. Harris led the way during that stretch with two 3-pointers.
GW immediately responded with a 10-3 run, led by Diggs who scored eight points in the first eight minutes of the half, giving the Colonials a 50-48 lead with 12:11 to go.
That is when UMass went on a 14-4 run over 3:58 to take control of the game, 62-54, with 7:48 to go. The run was highlighted by a steal and dunk by Gaffney and bookended by 3-pointers, from David Gibbs and Matt Glass.
The Minutemen close out the regular season on Saturday when they travel to Rhode Island to take on the Rams in a 7 p.m. tip. From there it will be on to Atlantic City for the Atlantic 10 Tournament first round next Wednesday at Boardwalk Hall.