NIT Quarterfinal Notes: UMass 72, Drexel 70
March 20, 2012
UMass becomes just the fourth team to win three road games to get to the NIT Semifinal at Madison Square Garden since the tournament began using home sites in 1977.
The 17-point deficit (53-36) with 16:26 to play in the second half tied the largest deficit overcome to win this season. UMass was down 20-3 against Saint Joseph's with 13:13 remaining in the first half of that contest on Jan. 14 and came back to defeat the Hawks, 71-62.
In UMass' last NIT quarterfinal game, the Minutemen overcame a 22-point deficit to beat Syracuse in 2008.
The victory also snapped UMass' six-game losing streak in Philadelphia, with its last win in the City of Brotherly Love coming at Saint Joseph's (87-80) on Jan. 27, 2010.
With the victory, the Minutemen now have 25 wins on the season, tied for fifth-most in program history. UMass last won 25 games when advancing to the NIT Final Four in 2007-08.
Needing just one more coming into the evening, UMass has set a new school record for team steals in a season, now with 321 on the year. The previous record was 311 in 1995-96.
Chaz Williams (20 pts) posted his 13th 20-point game of the season and third consecutively. He has reached double figures in scoring in 17 straight games and is averaging 22.6 ppg in the NIT.
Terrell Vinson (18 pts) tied his career high for field goals made with eight, finishing 8-for-15. He scored a team-high 14 second-half points.
UMass shot a season-best 58.8% from the field, including a blistering 70.8% (17-for-24) in the second half.
21 rebounds (9-12) was a season-low for the Minutemen. The previous season-low was 27 vs. Utah on Nov. 25.
Drexel's leading scorer at the half, Dartaye Ruffin (17 points), was held scoreless in the second half.
The Minutemen limited the Dragons to just 1-for-13 (7.7%) shooting from long range, tying the fewest made threes by a UMass opponent this season. Central Connecticut was 1-for-15 (6.7%) on Dec. 30.
The 72 points scored matched the most allowed by Drexel this season.
The win snapped Drexel's 18-game home court winning streak, the sixth-longest active streak in Division I.
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