Gritty Effort Advances UMass To A-10 Semifinals, 79-74, Over Temple
March 15, 2013
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - If the meeting between UMass and Temple back on Feb. 16 was thought to be one of the all-time classics between the two programs, then Friday's match-up in the A-10 Tournament Semifinals will serve as an appropriate final chapter for the pair of league rivals. In a back-and-forth game that came down to the final minutes, it was the Minutemen who survived to advance, 79-74, to the A-10 Semifinals on Saturday against No. 25 VCU.
UMass and VCU will tip-off in the second semifinal game on Saturday afternoon at 4 PM. The game will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network. Butler and Saint Louis will meet in the first semifinal game.
For UMass (21-10), the win marks the second straight year that the Minutemen knocked the Owls out of the A-10 Quarterfinals to earn a spot in the semifinals. It is also the first time since 2000 and 2001 that UMass made back-to-back A-10 Semifinal appearances.
Friday night's game featured 15 lead changes and six ties as neither team could push a lead to greater than six points. It was the 15th lead change of the game that proved the difference maker with the Minutemen holding on after digging out of a late five-point deficit in the second half.
The play of the game, however, came with 55 seconds left in regulation when UMass inbound the ball from under the Temple basket advancing the ball past half court looking to run down clock to preserve a two point lead. As the shot clock wound down, Terrell Vinson drove across the lane and to the right wing where he promptly buried a three-pointer to seal with the win.
Cady Lalanne's dunk with three seconds to go iced the game sending the Minutemen on to a third day of play at the Barclays Center.
Chaz Williams led all scorers with 28 points, while Freddie Riley and Vinson each finished with 15 points. While the Minutemen struggled on the glass Thursday night against George Washington, UMass was dominant against the Owls with a 40-to-23 advantage that helped offset 19 turnovers. Free throw shooting also proved the difference maker in the game with UMass hitting 23-of-27 attempts at the charity strip while the Owls were 14-of-15.
Temple (23-9) was led by Khalif Wyatt who scored 19 points, while Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson added 17 points and nine rebounds. Scootie Randall chipped in 12 points to round out the Owls' top scorers.
UMass was held without a field goal for just over a six minute stretch late in the second half, but Temple was unable to generate a lead greater than 60-55. The Minutemen continued to find success at the free throw line despite not hitting the jumpers from the floor and stayed close to the Owls.
Just under the six minute mark of the second half, Williams hit back-to-back field goals before a Lalanne lay-up gave the Minutemen a 67-64 lead with 4:22 to go.
Nearly three minutes later with UMass up by two, a Riley three-pointer off a near turnover with 1:32 to play stretched the Minutemen's lead to 71-66.
The teams traded a jumper from Hollis-Jefferson for a pair of free throws from Williams before Wyatt drilled a three-pointer at the 55 second mark to keep Temple within two 73-71.
UMass broke Temple's full-court pressure following the inbounds play and looked to run down the shot clock before Vinson's dagger from the arc put the Minutemen squarely ahead by five with 26 seconds to go.
A Carter free throw 10 seconds later gave UMass the largest lead of the game for either team at 77-71 before Will Cummings came down the court on the next Temple possession to hit a three-pointer.
Again, UMass was able to break the pressure and elude a foul by Temple with Riley finding Lalanne for the transition dunk with three seconds left on the clock giving the final score, 79-74.
Despite committing a season-high 12 first-half turnovers, the Minutemen went into intermission trailing by just one point, 38-37. Williams had 12 of his 28 points in the first half. In the wake of the turnovers, UMass used a 10-of-11 effort at the free throw line to stay in the game along with a 23-to-9 advantage on the glass.
The Minutemen shot nearly 50 percent from the floor hitting 25-of-51 field goals. Temple was 26-of-62 and turned UMass' 19 turnovers into 17 points.