Men's Basketball

UMass Falls To #24 UCF In Slugfest, 64-59

Dec. 22, 2010

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AMHERST, Mass. - In a back-and-forth battle that saw the lead change times 10 times, No. 24 UCF slipped by UMass, 64-59 on Wednesday night at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen held the Knights without a field goal for the final 5:45 of the game, but the visiting club made 14 of 16 free throws in the final 4:20 to hold off the Minutemen. Anthony Gurley led UMass with 17 points, leaving him three shy of 1,000 points in his UMass career, while UCF was paced by Isaac Sosa's 14.

Gurley hit a 3-pointer with 16.3 seconds left to pull UMass within three, 60-57, but A.J. Rompza and Marcus Jordan each went 2-for-2 at the line in the closing seconds to seal the victory.

UMass led, 40-39 with 12:30 remaining when the Knights scored six-straight points to take the lead for good with 9:45 remaining, 45-40. A pair of Tom Herzog free throws with 3:57 left gave UCF a seven-point lead, the biggest of the night by either side, 54-47, and after a Vinson hoop, two Keith Clanton free throws returned the UCF lead to seven, 56-49 with 3:23 left.

The game against the 24th-ranked Knights was the first time UMass hosted a ranked opponent at the Mullins Center since upsetting No. 7 Connecticut, 61-59 on Dec. 9, 2004.

Defense was the story of the game as UMass was held to 31.8 percent shooting, including 2-of-22 from 3-point range, and UCF shot 38.8 percent, but made 5-of-16 from behind the arc.

The early portion of the second half was a back-and-forth affair that saw the teams trade leads six times in the first eight and a half minutes. Gurley and Terrell Vinson led the Minuteman offense through that span with six points each as all seven of UMass' field goals came on drives to the basket.

Both defenses controlled the first half of play. UCF shot 31 percent from the field and UMass shot 26.7 percent, including 1-of-9 from behind the arc, as the Knights took a 26-24 halftime lead, led by eight points from Isaac Sosa. Gurley and Sampson Carter each had six first-half points to pace the Minutemen.

The Knights used a 7-0 run between the 7:23 and 4:35 marks of the first half to take a 19-18 lead, and after Gurley netted five-straight for the Minutemen, UCF closed the half on a 7-1 run to take a 26-24 lead into the locker room.

After a sluggish start in which the Minutemen made just two of their first 10 shots and fell behind 9-4, the home club responded with tough defense and an attacking offense to go on a 13-2 run over a six-minute span and take a 17-11 lead with 9:19 left in the first half.

UMass held a 25-21 rebounding edge in the opening half, while turning it over 10 times to UCF's eight.

The Minutemen return to action on Friday, Dec. 31 when the host Boston University in a 2 p.m. New Year's Eve matinee at the Mullins Center.




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