UMass Beats BC For First Time Since 1999 To Win Commonwealth Classic
Dec. 12, 2007
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Riding a gutsy second-half effort by Gary Forbes and a stifling full-court press, the UMass men's basketball team picked up an 83-80 victory over cross-state rival Boston College on Wednesday evening. The win was UMass' first vs. the Eagles since December 4, 1999, and first in the last eight games. UMass was led by sophomore Ricky Harris who tied a career-high with 25 points. Forbes added 22, including 17 in the second half. The Minutemen (7-2) are back in action on Saturday when they host Toledo in a 7:30 p.m. start at the Mullins Center.
Boston College guard Tyrese Rice had an open three-point attempt with four seconds remaining in the second half that would have tied the score, but it was off the mark.
The win also marked the first win vs. an ACC opponent since the Minutemen defeated Florida State, 78-68 on Feb. 15, 2005.
Along with Forbes and Harris, Chris Lowe tallied 17 points and Etienne Brower tied a career-high with 10 rebounds. Tony Gaffney also played well on both ends of the court, picking up four points, five rebounds, and two blocks. The Minutemen finished with 15 offensive rebounds.
ACC preseason first-team all-conference selection Rice led Boston College with 26 points.
After trailing by three at the half, UMass came out strong in the second. The Minutemen started with a 17-7 run to take a seven-point lead after a Harris layup attempt was called for goaltending.
With the score 51-48 UMass, the Minutemen went on a 12-0 run, using their pressure to disrupt the Eagles' rhythm. In that span, Forbes sprung Harris with a beautiful pass for an easy layup, giving UMass the 58-48 lead.
Forbes put an exclamation point on the run with a three-point play. After hitting the free throw, UMass owned its largest lead of the game, 63-48, with 10:05 remaining in regulation.
The Eagles started to mount a comeback, cutting the lead to seven, 63-56. The game continued to go back and forth with each team mounting small runs.
Forbes continued his tremendous second half, by making a drive from behind the three-point line, all the way to the basket to up UMass' lead to 71-63 with 4:52 to go.
With less than one minute remaining in the game, Lowe hit a clutch floater to make it 79-73. With 15 seconds on the clock, Rice made a three-point play to cut the Minutemen lead to one-possession, 83-80. After Harris missed a layup that would have iced the game, Rice had an open three-pointer with four seconds remaining, but it was off the mark, giving UMass the thrilling victory.
Both teams had tough starts to the first half, struggling from the field, and turning the ball over. After a full minute with no scoring, Harris picked up the first basket of the game, a three-pointer with 18:58 remaining.
Boston College scored its first points of the game with 17:56 remaining via a Tyrelle Blair layup.
With 16:50 remaining until the half, Lowe made a steal and went all the way for the uncontested layup to make it 5-2.
The Minutemen continued to play tremendous defense, holding the Eagles to four points the first 5:24. Rice broke the streak with a layup with 14:36 remaining to cut UMass' lead to one, 7-6.
Papa Lo saw significant minutes in the middle of the first half, contributing right away off the bench. Shamari Spears of the Eagles went strong to the basket from the right side with 11:50 to go in the half, but Lo came out of nowhere to make the block. On the ensuing possession, he had an offensive rebound to keep the possession alive.
With the Minutemen trailing 9-7 with 11:11 remaining, they went on a 12-2 run over 3:09 to take a 19-11 lead.
A Harris three-pointer extended UMass' lead to nine, 25-16, its largest lead of the half.
The Eagles responded with a 12-0 run of their own to overtake the Minutemen, 28-25. A Gaffney layup ended the 3:07 scoreless drought.
The Eagles extended their lead to as many as five, but couldn't distance themselves. UMass clawed back to cut their deficit to only three at the half, 37-34.
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