Nov. 28, 2012
ALBANY, N.Y. – Chaz Williams’ 1,014th career point came with 3.3 seconds to go in the game and proved the biggest of the night as it clinched a 64-63 win for the UMass men’s basketball team at Siena on Wednesday at the Times Union Center. Williams finished with a game-high 23 points and was instrumental in a second half 18-4 run which erased a 10-point halftime deficit.
The win improved UMass to 3-2 overall with each win coming in the final seconds of each game. The Minutemen will host Miami on Saturday afternoon at the Mullins Center. The Hurricanes will enter the game with a 4-1 record after defeating No. 13 Michigan State 67-59 on Wednesday.
Siena (2-5) led by as many as 17 points in the first half thanks to a strong shooting performance to start the game. The Saints hit 11-of-23 field goals including 7-of-11 three-pointers and held a 34-24 lead at the break.
Along with Williams’ 23 points, Terrell Vinson poured in 17 points – just four shy of his career-high mark. Jesse Morgan added nine points, while Maxie Esho and Sampson Carter each hauled down 10 rebounds.
The Saints were led by a trio of players in double figures with Evan Hymes scoring a team high 15 points. O.D. Anosike had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Rob Poole scored 11 points.
The game started with the Minutemen struggling from the floor hitting just 3-of-16 shots in the first 10 minutes. A Trenity Burdine three-pointer at the 10:20 mark capped a 9-0 run to give Siena a 14-6 lead.
UMass cut the lead to four on a Vinson lay-up, but a Rich Adu three-pointer with 7:13 to go capped a 7-0 run pushing the score to 21-10.
Another Burdine three-pointer gave Siena its biggest lead of the game at 33-16 with 3:11 left in the first half.
The Minutemen finally hit their first three-pointers of the first half (2-of-14) in the final 2:13 with Freddie Riley and Williams both finding range from beyond the arc. With his trey at the 45 second mark, Williams became the 42nd player in program history to hit the 1,000-point plateau.
Just as the first half was a slow shooting affair for UMass, the second half proved a change of fortune with the Minutemen going on an 18-4 run in the first nine minutes highlighted by three three-pointers from Williams. Sampson Carter’s put-back with 11:54 to go gave the Minutemen a 44-43 lead – their first lead since the opening two minutes of play. Just under a minute later, Williams’ third trey of the stretch pushed the lead up to five, 48-43.
Siena clawed back to take a 62-58 lead at the 3:46 mark with a pair of free throws and a lay-up from Anosike. Carter’s fastbreak lay-up a minute later pulled UMass back within two, but Anosike hit another free throw to push the lead back to three, 63-60, with 2:04 to go.
With just under a minute left, Williams pulled down a defensive rebound in the paint before throwing a deep outlet pass to Morgan whose lay-up made it a one-point game. A loose ball rebound on the next Siena possession was given to UMass. Williams drove around a screen at the free throw line to hit a floater with 3.3 seconds left in regulation giving UMass the 64-63 lead and closing an 8-3 run over the final five minutes.
After the teams traded timeouts, Siena attempted a home-run pass to set-up a potential game-winner, but Carter tipped the pass back over half court as time expired to seal the win.
UMass finished the game 26-of-69 from the floor and was 7-of-33 from beyond the arc. The Saints were 21-of-53 from the floor and 9-of-19 from deep. The Minutemen were also able to convert 16 Siena turnovers into 20 points and held a 10-0 advantage in fast break points over the Saints.