Putney Nets 20 as UMass Wins 6th Straight, Improve to 9-3
OXFORD, Ohio (UMassAthletics.com) – While it was the Minutemen hitting last second game-winning shots earlier this season, a missed lay-up by Miami (OH) gave the UMass basketball team a 70-69 win on Wednesday night at Millett Hall. Raphiael Putney scored a season-high 20 points, just two shy of his career high, to pace the Minutemen who saw an eight-point halftime lead turn into a nip-and-tuck second half.
UMass (9-3) will return to action on Saturday afternoon as Eastern Michigan visits the Mullins Center to close out the non-conference slate. Wednesday’s win marked the sixth straight win for the Minutemen.
Along with his 20 points, Putney added nine rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Jesse Morgan and Chaz Williams each scored in double figures for UMass hitting for 12 and 10 points, respectively. Defensively, Maxie Esho finished the game with nine rebounds and four blocked shots.
Miami (5-7) was led by Allen Roberts who scored a game-high 21 points. Will Felder and Drew McGhee added 10 points to lead the Red Hawks who lost at home for the first time this season.
After UMass took a 37-29 lead into halftime, Miami used a 13-to-5 run to start the second half which tied the game 42-42 just two minutes, 30 seconds into the stanza.
From there, the rest of the second half saw four more ties and six lead changes. The final lead change came on a Williams jumper with 1:12 to go putting the Minutemen up 70-69.
A foul on the ensuing Red Hawk possession put Quinten Rollins on the free throw line with 44.0 seconds left. Rollins missed the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity with Terrell Vinson hauling in the defensive rebound.
UMass ran down the clock, but a Sampson Carter three-point attempt with 10 seconds to go was off the mark. Miami collected the rebound but Will Sullivan’s lay-up attempt with one second to go was no good and Putney claimed the rebound for the win.
The Red Hawks started the half hitting five of their first six field goals to tie the game at 42.
A pair of Geovonie McKnight free throws mid-way through the second half kept Miami’s lead extended to four, 61-57, but a three-pointer from Putney (one of four in the game) pulled the Minutemen back within one.
A three-pointer from Trey Davis gave UMass the lead again, 65-63, with 5:05 to go but Miami retook the advantage nearly a minute later. Putney’s fourth trey of the game proved big as it gave the Minutemen a 68-67 lead with 3:46 remaining.
After Miami hit two free throws to take the lead once again 20 seconds later, neither team could score again from the field or the free throw line until Williams’ game-winning lay-up. The Red Hawks missed their final four field goals along with Rollins’ lone free throw attempt down the stretch.
Despite the close score, UMass dominated the boards with a 48-to-32 advantage including a 17-to-6 edge on the offensive glass.